The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and WTTW-TV, a Public Broadcasting Service affiliate in Chicago, have won grants from the Department of Education under the federal Ready to Learn program to foster television programming for preschoolers.
The program has in recent years helped finance such popular children’s TV shows as “Sesame Street,” “Reading Rainbow,” and “Maya and Miguel.”
The CPB, which applied for the grant jointly with PBS, will receive $15.8 million in the first year of the five-year grant, including $4 million for outreach. WTTW will receive $7 million and is expected to co-produce a new children’s series, “Word World,” that will debut nationally on PBS in January 2007.
The Education Department earlier this year split the Ready to Learn grant into two separate awards, for outreach and programming, to improve the program’s reach and provide a more intense focus on literacy for preschoolers and young school-age children.
The decision to divide the grants came close on the heels of a controversy over a PBS show, “Postcards from Buster,” that has been partially subsidized by the Ready to Learn program.
In February, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wrote to PBS and asked that the network return money used to produce an episode of “Postcards from Buster” featuring two families that were each headed by a female couple.