Teachers' Channel: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Annenberg Foundation have committed $70 million over five years to expand the offerings of a free television channel devoted to teachers' professional development.
Since it was started in 1996, the Annenberg/CPB Channel has offered programming for teachers of mathematics and science. More than 40,000 schools and school districts have applied for free licenses to use the programs during that time.
But expansion is needed, officials said, after announcing the fresh infusion of money in November.
"We're told that one of the biggest challenges the nation faces is to provide teachers and school districts with professional- development opportunities. And we know, anecdotally and from experience we have with the channel so far, that this does that," Robert Coonrod, the president of the CPB, said in an interview.
The channel will continue to be distributed free, either directly via satellite or through local retransmissions by public television or cable stations.
The expansion will increase the broadcast hours to 24 hours daily, and expand the programming areas into the humanities.
"We've worked very well in math and science, and the time is ripe for providing similar resources for teachers in all of these disciplines," said Scott Roberts, the director of the Annenberg/CPB Project, the CPB division that manages the channel.
Beginning Jan. 1, a 12-hour block of programming will be broadcast twice daily. It will offer two primary types of programs: educational series that elucidate an academic subject, such as music or literature, and eight-week video workshops that focus on teaching techniques. The workshops will also use materials posted on the channel's World Wide Web site, at www.learner.org/channel.
In addition to producing more of those types of programs, the channel will offer policy pieces to broaden teachers' understanding of their field, Mr. Roberts said. "We want to become the Teachers' Channel," he said.
But the group will not take positions on policy issues, he said.
The increased investment will total $14 million—$9 million from the foundation and $5 million from the CPB—for each of the next five years.
The CPB's share would probably come from "existing fund balances" and sales of videotapes and other materials, but could also include money received from the federal government, Mr. Coonrod said.
Vol. 19, Issue 14, Page 8