COVID-19 gives the FCC a platform to leverage educational programming

Blog Post
Oct. 15, 2020

The Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) is a cross-sector fellowship program designed to bring together journalists, entertainment producers, policy influencers, researchers, and social entrepreneurs around the science of early learning. As part of the program, our fellows contribute to various publications, including New America’s EdCentral blog; BOLD, the blog on learning development published by the Jacobs Foundation; and outside publications. The article below, by LSX Fellow Jill Shinderman, is excerpted from an October article in Education Plus Development from the Brookings Institution: COVID-19 gives the FCC a platform to leverage educational programming. Jill Shinderman was an LSX Fellow in the inaugural 2018-2020 cohort.

Months before COVID-19, the FCC voted to loosen broadcasters’ obligations to carry core “educational and informative” content across their networks. The National Association of Broadcasters thanked the FCC profusely, touting that obligations to carry “low-rated children’s programming” would have serious economic consequences when stations were already dealing with shrinking profits.

Little did they realize that in just a matter of months, schools across the country would morph into remote learning modalities, placing television and public airwaves in the role of providing educational content for many American families.

FCC commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks practically prophesized the grave risks of relaxing FCC children’s programming rules when they issued their dissenting statements back in July of 2019. Both commissioners championed the value of quality educational programming in a rapidly changing media landscape, where the digital divide was becoming more pervasive every day. Starks even went so far as to say that the FCC actually “has clear statutory authority to require broadcasters to limit commercialization on children’s television and ensure that programming is specifically made to serve children’s age-appropriate educational needs.”

To continue reading, see the full article published October 7, 2020 in Education Plus Development from the Brookings Institution.

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on what’s new in Education Policy!