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Educational-TV Measure Clears Congress

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WASHINGTON--The Senate last week gave final Congressional approval to a bill authorizing federal grants for educational-television programming and training materials designed to improve the school readiness of young children.

The House had passed the "ready to learn act,'' S 3134, shortly before ending its 1992 session last week.

Bush Administration officials said late last week that the President had not yet decided whether to sign the legislation. However, aides to Republican members of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee said they expected Mr. Bush to sign the bill.

The bill was introduced late in the session by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee.

Congressional approval of the measure was a surprise to some observers on Capitol Hill, who had assumed it would have little chance of passage in the hectic final weeks before adjournment.

'Ready To Learn Channel'

The measure would authorize the Education Department to award grants to public or private nonprofit organizations to develop and distribute educational-television programming for young children, as well as training materials for parents, child-care providers, and educators.

The bill also designates a "ready to learn channel'' for educational shows on the new Public Broadcasting Service satellite that is to be launched next year.

The bill authorizes $25 million for the initiative in fiscal 1993.

"Our children are spending hours in front of the television, and it is time to put our resources into providing programming that is instructional as well,'' Senator Kennedy said in a written statement.

"Television is a vast resource waiting to be used more effectively,'' Senator Kennedy maintained. "This legislation puts us on the right track.''

The new legislation also would establish a national clearinghouse of model educational-video programming for young children and training materials for parents.

In addition, it directs the Secretary of Education to coordinate with the Health and Human Services Department the use of educational programming in H.H.S. school-readiness programs, including child care and Head Start.

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