APTS and PBS Commend U.S. Senate For Including Ready To Learn in S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act

WASHINGTON - July 16, 2015 - The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) today commended the U.S. Senate for passing S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This legislation includes the reauthorization of Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that invests in research-based educational media content to build the math and reading skills of children between the ages of two and eight, especially those from low-income families.

"The Association of Public Television Stations is delighted that Ready To Learn is included in the Senate's reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act," said APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler. "We are deeply grateful to Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) for their bipartisan leadership on this legislation and their support of public broadcasting. We are also profoundly thankful to Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for their tireless work to ensure that Ready To Learn remained in the Senate bill."

"Ready To Learn is a proven success in narrowing the educational achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers, and is used by 32 million children every month who depend on this public television content to give them the best chance to succeed in school and in life," Butler said. "Since 2005, more than 80 research and evaluation studies have shown that Ready To Learn literacy and math content engages children, enhances their early learning skills and allows them to make significant academic gains."

"Working in partnership with their local communities, PBS stations reach 99% of television households with curriculum-based, research-driven PBS KIDS content that is supported by Ready To Learn," said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. "Given that fewer than half of American children ages 3-4 attend formal preschool or kindergarten programs, a factor that affects educational outcomes throughout a student's life, it is clear that Ready To Learn is helping PBS stations give children access to a fundamental educational resource. On behalf of PBS and PBS local stations, we thank the United States Senate for keeping this vital program available to America's young learners and their caregivers."

Ready To Learn has supported the research, development, creation and academic rigor of public television's high quality on-air, online, mobile and on-the-ground educational content for children including, Sesame Street, Peg + Cat, Curious George, SUPER WHY!, Martha Speaks, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Sid the Science Kid and The Electric Company, among others. Numerous studies have shown that use of Ready To Learn created content improves math learning and early literacy skills, helping to bridge the achievement gap and prepare kids to succeed in school.

Ready To Learn is a unique national-local partnership that supports the efficient creation of educational media that has been proven to help kids learn. In addition, local public television stations ensure that parents, teachers and caregivers can make the most of Ready To Learn resources to address their community's educational needs and goals in schools, pre-schools, homeschools, Head Start and other daycare centers, libraries, mobile learning labs and "apps," Boy and Girls Clubs, and community centers.

"We're pleased that Senators support this highly successful, cost-effective program," Butler concluded. "While we were disappointed that H.R. 5, the House legislation to reauthorize of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, didn't include Ready To Learn, we will be working hard to ensure that the final version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will ultimately include Ready To Learn."

About APTS
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. APTS represents the overwhelming majority of the 171 public television licensees nationwide. The mission of APTS is to conduct - in concert with member stations - strategic planning, research, advocacy and communications activities to foster strong and financially sound noncommercial television. APTS also works to ensure member stations' commitment and capacity to perform essential public service missions in education, public safety and civic leadership for the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.

About PBS
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 109 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS' premier children's TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents' and teachers' most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.