George W. Bush canceled Reading Rainbow
According to NPR, the children's program is being cut from the PBS stable of educational programming because of ... wait for it ... the Bush administration.
Apparently, due largely in part to rising illiteracy rates, the educational policies instituted by our last president put more of a focus on teaching children about "the basic tools of reading - like phonics and spelling." As a result, the Department of Education now has far less government funding for a show that only tells kids why they should read rather than teach them how to read.
Because of the increased fees to renew the show's broadcast license coupled with the new direction for how television should be used to teach, no one involved could (or seemed to want to) pick up the inflated tab.
While I understand perfectly well why this is happening, it still bothers me. Reading Rainbow is an American institution. I can remember watching it as a kid and even just a few weeks ago, I channel surfed and paused on an episode for a few minutes. It was just as a I remembered! From the corny theme (I can fly twice as high!) to LeVar Burton telling me not to take his word for it, I can't picture PBS without Reading Rainbow. How does Boohbah stay on and this gets canceled?!?
Like I said though, I get why this is happening and that's the scary part. As the NPR article points out, Reading Rainbow operated under the assumption that the kids watching already knew how to read. I don't think I need to explain why that's scary and if I do, well ... then you probably can't read this anyway.