The Daily News

Dear Editor:

WPSU-TV, which started life as “educational television” is now providing emergency at-home learning services to assist students, families, teachers, administrators and school systems. In fact, public TV stations in all 50 states are doing the same during the coronavirus outbreak.

This crisis response builds on years of public television’s success in education, including the work of WPSU. Our early childhood television programs have been proven to help close the achievement gap between children in lower-income families and their more affluent peers. Local stations across the country have served more than a million elementary and secondary school teachers for years through PBS LearningMedia, a collection of tens of thousands of interactive digital learning objects curated from the best of decades of public television’s national and local programming.

But in the wake of the new pandemic, WPSU and other public television stations across the country – working remotely and with un-budgeted resources (while donations plummet in the accompanying economic downturn) – are pursuing our education mission even farther, clearing our daytime schedules to broadcast grade-appropriate instructional programming, creating and curating educational games and other online content, and working with our Pennsylvania Department of Education, Intermediate Units and local school districts to ensure that at least some of the established K-12 curriculum is covered in these unprecedented circumstances.

The WPSU Learning at Home initiative has three components:

Television programming blocks on air organized by subject and grade level on our main channel and on our WPSU World channel.

At-home lessons and activities, coordinated with weekly programs tied to our pbslearningmedia.org content library and classroom-ready curriculum, aligned to Common Core and national standards that includes videos and interactives, as well as audio, printables, and in-depth lesson plans.

WPSU Education Website – This portal to PBS LearningMedia, PBS Parents, and other resources contains sections for parents, and caregivers, and educators as well as links to PBS KIDS video stream and “virtual events” pages.

Public television stations in every state are pursuing similar at-home learning initiatives that best serve their communities during this national crisis. It’s educational television when America needs it most, and it’s an important return on the investments the federal government and state government have been making in our work for decades. Local stations are also providing critical assistance through public safety communications and local programming that gives our communities trustworthy information about every aspect of the health emergency. All of this work – education, public safety and civic leadership – is what America’s public television stations do every day, in addition to broadcasting the national programs people love.

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires public media to serve everybody, everywhere, every day for free. WPSU is doing just that. We’re honored that this long-standing commitment can be of such benefit in a crisis no one could have predicted.

Greg Petersen

WPSU Board of Representatives


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