This is depressing. Just a couple of weeks ago, an FCC commissioner wanted to revisit educational program requirements for broadcast TV stations, pointing to local PBS stations as the proper substitute. Today, the president’s proposed 2019 budget eliminates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which subsidizes those local PBS stations.
As described by Ted Johnson in Variety, the previous year’s budget tried the same trick, but fortunately “funding survived, which is a testament to just how much of a wish-list the White House budget really is, as opposed to something that will actually gain traction on Capitol Hill.”
Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations, said he hoped that Washington would see that “we provide the only preschool education for more than half of America’s children, that we are the backbone of public safety communications networks at the local, state and national levels, and that we do more to equip America’s citizens to do the hard work of democracy than anyone else.”
I’m surprised that anyone has to explain this, but education is a societal investment. Kids with hope and knowledge grow up to become productive taxpayers. Kids who see no way out become unhappy burdens to society. Let’s hope that Congress again recognizes that a small outlay today can prevent huge outlays for years to come.