Senate passes bill reauthorizing Ready To Learn

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The U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives Wednesday in passing a bill that reauthorizes the Ready To Learn program.

The Senate vote added RTL’s authorization to the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind. The House and the Senate had passed separate versions of the act, with the Senate’s including RTL authorization while the House’s did not. After a conference committee report that included authorization passed the full Congress, it was submitted to the president Wednesday. The House had approved the bill Dec. 3.

“The Association of Public Television Stations is delighted that Ready To Learn is included in the Conference Report on the Every Student Succeeds Act,” Association of Public Television Stations president and CEO Patrick Butler said in a statement. “We are deeply grateful to Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.) for their bipartisan leadership, which was essential in moving this legislation forward.”

The requested $25.7 million in funding for RTL remains unresolved and will be taken up in separate legislation. The House omitted RTL funding in its appropriations bill, while the Senate included it.

RTL is funded in five-year increments and is administered by CPB, in partnership with PBS and under a contract with the Department of Education. Earlier this year, the Department of Education awarded $25.5 million to Twin Cities Public Television and CPB for the first year of the current five-year cycle.

RTL grants have aided research and development of broadcast and online content such as Odd Squad, Peg + Cat, Sid the Science Kid and Sesame Street.

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