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Ready-to-Learn Television (II-D-3)


Gaps in educational performance often start early. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds frequently start elementary school less prepared than their schoolmates from more advantaged backgrounds. High-quality preschool and related activities can play an important role in eliminating this gap. Educational television has proved an important tool in strengthening the preschool skills of young children. By providing high-quality instructional content for young children, the gap in early learning can be reduced.

The Ready-to-Learn Television program develops and disseminates educational programming for preschool and early elementary school children and their families. The program supports distribution of programming and printed materials to increase school readiness for young children in limited English proficient households and to increase family literacy. Accompanying support materials and services promote the effective use of educational television programming.

How It Works

Eligible entities apply to the U.S. Department of Education, and funds are allocated by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement with a public telecommunications entity that is able to demonstrate: (1) a capacity to develop and nationally distribute educational and instructional television programming of high quality that is accessible by a large majority of disadvantaged preschool and elementary school children; (2) a capacity to contract with producers of children's television programming for the purpose of developing educational television programming of high quality; (3) a capacity to negotiate contracts so that an appropriate share of any ancillary income from sales of program-related products are returned to the entity; and (4) a capacity to localize programming and materials to meet specific state and local needs and to provide local educational outreach.

Key Requirements

To increase effective use, programming must be made widely available with appropriate support materials to young children, parents, child-care workers, Head Start providers, Even Start providers, and providers of family literacy services. Grantees shall consult with the federal departments of Education and Health and Human Services to maximize utilization of the program and to coordinate with federal programs that have major training components for early childhood development.

How Performance Is Measured

An annual report to the secretary of education must include a description of program activities, including programming and support materials that have been developed, programming distribution, and initiatives to develop public and private partnerships. In addition, multiyear experimental evaluations of the programming's effectiveness to help enhance children's readiness for school are under way.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007