DearColleague.us

Letter

Earl Blumenauer

From the office of:

Earl Blumenauer

Sending Office: Honorable Earl Blumenauer
Sent By:
Amber.Ray@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

As the nation reels from the COVID-19 pandemic with schools closing and citizens desperate for information they can trust, we, the Chairs of the Public Broadcasting Caucus, wish to call to your attention the exceptional work that local public broadcasting
stations are conducting to help us through this crisis.

In just four weeks, since the nation’s schools started shutting down, public television stations in all 50 States have launched at-home learning services to help parents and educators teach millions of suddenly homebound students.

In more than 20 States – and this number is fast-growing – public television stations have entered into formal partnerships with state and local education agencies to provide standards-based, curriculum-aligned instruction that mirrors the education students
would ordinarily be receiving in the classroom.

In all 50 states, public media stations are playing a vital role informing the local community about the latest coronavirus developments, delivering fact-based reporting, providing critical public safety information, and spotlighting local resources intended
to help Americans navigate these uncertain times. Public radio newsrooms have been disrupted and forced to rearrange operations, yet local reporters continue news gathering activities in their communities. 

Public broadcasters are also stepping up impressively to provide all our citizens with accurate, trusted information about the health crisis itself, measures we all need to take to preserve our own health and help mitigate the outbreak, the economic and
social effects of this national emergency, and other news to connect us with the wider world while we’re stuck at home.

And in virtually all cases, public television stations have reformatted their entire daytime broadcast schedules to accommodate grade-appropriate educational programming. Because it is free over-the-air broadcasting, this programming can reach every student
in every television home, regardless of the degree of Internet access.

PBS Kids is there, as always, to help our youngest children get ready to learn. And PBS LearningMedia offers tens of thousands of free digital learning objects adapted from the best of public television programming (Ken Burns, American Experience, NOVA,
Nature, and more) and other authoritative sources including the Library of Congress, the National Archives, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Local public radio and television stations are broadcasting new, daily special programming (including call-in shows) with local health experts and public officials, assessing the impact of the pandemic on their local communities and providing vital links
across platforms (also through digital content and podcasts) to local resources to help our citizens cope with the crisis.

And they’re doing all of this – and more – despite their own very expensive new teleworking challenges and investing unbudgeted resources to provide these enhanced services to their communities, while facing severe financial losses as private donations from
individuals, foundations and corporate underwriters (most of every station’s revenue) plummet with the general economic downturn.

Never have the services of local public broadcasting stations been more important to the American people – and never have those stations been so financially challenged as now.

To see what expanded educational services local public television stations are offering in your communities, we encourage you to visit

America’s Public Television Station’s website
.

Highlights of local public radio stations’ efforts to inform the public about the coronavirus pandemic, provide local, national and international news, and keep listeners and communities connected, are available at

https://www.npr.org/sections/npr-extra/2020/04/09/830962994/public-radio-responds-to-coronavirus
.  

We are tremendously grateful for the services these local public broadcasting stations are providing. They have always served as America’s largest classroom and are now the country’s largest public service journalism network. As millions of families tune
in for daily educational broadcast and online learning as well as live, local and trusted news coverage, that role has never been more critical.

Sincerely,

 

Earl Blumenauer                                                         Fred Upton

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

John Yarmuth                                                             Mark Amodei

Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Education, Family Issues, HealthCare, Homeland Security, Technology

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