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Teach the Children.

Produced by On Television, Ltd. Distributed by California Newsreel, 1992. 57 min., color. Elementary and high school purchase, $49; college, $195 (VHS). This investigative report, hosted by Edwin Newman, examines television as a teacher of children. Teachers and parents will be particularly interested in the thoroughly documented history of children's television programming. When television first began, its audience was an elitist group and children's programming was correspondingly extensive and of high quality. In 1955, "there were more shows for children than there were soap operas, news, variety and dramatic programs." When television sets became less expensive, however, a mass market emerged and sponsors started supporting programs for adult viewers, relegating children's television to the "Saturday morning ghetto." A battle began to regain quality air time and programs, to prevent advertisers from exploiting children, and to shield children from the violence, sex and negative images of teachers and schooling.

This video features the efforts of two fighters in the battle Peggy Charren, founder of Action for Children's Television, and Joan Ganz Cooney, founder of Children's Television Workshop. Advocates of children's television cite the Communications Act of 1934, which declares that the airways belong to the public, must serve the public's interest, convenience and necessity, and can never be sold into private hands. Commercial stations granted access to the airways must offer the public something in exchange.

Advocates of children's television want that something to be educational programming for children. After a rough legal road, the Children's Television Act of 1990 was passed. Finding this act inadequate, the National PTA has begun a campaign to improve the quality of children's programs, promote media literacy and offer more choice and variety in children's television.

The video is ideal for parents and teachers to view together to become better informed about children's television and to decide if they want to participate in the National PTA's campaign.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Stanford, Beverly Hardcastle
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Audiovisual Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:A World of Ideas with Bill Moyers: Invitation to Education with Mike Rose.
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