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October 21, 2014

George W. Bush canceled Reading Rainbow

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Aug 29th 2009 2:30PM
LeVar Burton, host of 'Reading Rainbow' Did you watch Reading Rainbow yesterday? If you missed it, that's too bad, because PBS' third-longest running show (behind only Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood) ended its 26 year run on Friday.

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.

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Tim McCleese

Oh where....where is Bugs Bunny when you need him?

September 04 2009 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynnette

Here's what the actual NPR article says itself about why the program isn't happening:

"The show's run is ending, Grant explains, because no one - not the station, not PBS, not the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - will put up the several hundred thousand dollars needed to renew the show's broadcast rights."

Then, the next paragraph negates the true, aforementioned reason that Reading Rainbow is toast by blaming it on Bush:

"Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading - like phonics and spelling."

So, it's Bush's fault that the station, PBS or the Corporation for Public broadcasting refuse to put up the funds? Really? Bush did (or didn't do) a lot, but blaming this on Bush is pathetic.

Even if you hate Bush, and I'm not a fan, you can't dispute the funding issues here. Non-conservative institutions for education are unwilling to fork out the money. PERIOD.

September 01 2009 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

I just think that Bush was pissed with the fact that the show didn't help him.

August 31 2009 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

CCK: I wasn't trying to say there was NO debt. It took several presidents to get it where it was before Bush took office. But you made my point, he doubled it during his watch. The rich got richer and everyone else suffered in one way or another.

August 30 2009 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joyce N.'s comment
trickyric

not to be too picky but as a libertarian I must point out that Clintons spending spree in his first 2 years were so out of control that the republicans took control for the first time in 40 years and they no Clinton balanced the budget by shutting down the government (non essesntial)until a budget was acceptable. the Bush years did not see a huge increase in debt until 2006 when the r's lost power and yes before that all spending was aproved by both parties because the congress was basically split. since Jan 20 Obama has tripled the deficit to over 3 trillion and missreported it until last week so lets get some perspective. Bush sucked and Obama is heading to be the worst economic president in history. yea!

August 30 2009 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CCK

test

August 30 2009 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason

2 things... 1. I had no idea this show was still on the air and 2. I'm shocked it's ending.

August 30 2009 at 12:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason

Numbner 1 I had no idea the show was still on the air and 2nd shocked that it's ending.

August 30 2009 at 12:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
trish

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/338798378

Petition to save the show

August 29 2009 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Evil Bush, you are truly blind. Who left that multiple trillion dollar debt for President Obama to deal with? It wasn't there when President Clinton left office. If you were an honest and good citizen who cared, you could NOT defend that lamebrain. Obviously, you are not.

August 29 2009 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Joyce N.'s comment
CCK

Joyce are you serious? There was no debt when Clinton left office? That is crazy talk. We've been running a deficit in this country for 60 years.

The national debt in Sept 2000, before Bush was elected, was $5,674,178,209,886.86. It doubled over the last ten years, but their certainly was a national debt long before Bush was President.

If you were a "an honest and good citizen who cared," you would be better informed. Please get your facts straight.

August 30 2009 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CCK

Joyce-
There wasn't a national debt when President Clinton left office? are you serious? In September 2000, 2 months before President Bush would be elected, the national debt was $5,674,178,209,886.86.

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm

We've been running a deficit in this country for 60 years and have had a national debt since 1791. If you "were an honest and good citizen who cared" you would be better informed. Get your facts straight.

August 30 2009 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
svrkevi

Bush has done much worse...ehh

August 29 2009 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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