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Fla. Educators Ponder State-Run Educational-Television Channel

Florida's Commissioner of Education has proposed that the state compete with commercial television programming for students' attention by operating a 24-hour educational channel.

In what may be the first such effort in the nation, Commissioner Betty Castor has proposed the establishment of such a network on a limited basis next fall with the hope that 24-service could be under way within two years.

Programming on the network, she said, would reflect the materials already used in the state's classrooms. But, she added, the network would also provide special programming for parents and public-service broadcasts about such topics as aids prevention.

Planners also envision that remedial education could be offered in the afternoon in various locations to target "latchkey" children and that late-night programming might be geared toward in-service materials that could be taped for later use.

Much of the programming would be videotaped, but the system also would air occasional live, interactive videoconferences.

A committee is expected to begin assessing programming needs and estimating the cost of the network next month.

It is anticipated that the programming on the channel would not be supported by advertising, but through corporate underwriting and in-kind contributions similar to those that support the Public Broadcasting Service.

The state's cable-television industry, which would carry the signal to many areas, has given tentative support to the concept.

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