The Tennessee Department of Education has secured a partnership with the state’s PBS stations to deliver daily educational content to public school students as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to keep them out of school.
Several organizations, including the Family Research Council, have, in the past, faulted PBS’s educational materials for what they call a left-leaning bias.
TDOE spokeswoman Victoria Robinson on Thursday said she could not describe the PBS content in detail or whether state officials are making sure it has no political biases.
“Since we just formed the partnership, we will be solidifying lessons and content plans over (the next) few days,” Robinson said in an email to The Tennessee Star.
“The content will be developed and provided by Tennessee educators in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education.”
Staring April 6, Tennessee’s six PBS stations— WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS, and Chattanooga WTCI — will deliver two hours of programming with high-quality instructional content from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Central Standard Time. The network will stream four hours of content overnight, which viewers can watch live or record, according to a TDOE press release.
“This is an incredible example of Tennesseans coming together to support kids,” Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in the press release.
“We are so thrilled to be partnering with PBS stations across the state to make high-quality instructional content available to all students so they can continue learning during school closures. Families and students are hungry for content right now, and we are grateful our local stations have stepped up to help fill this need.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, writing for The Daily Signal last year, said PBS uses “taxpayer dollars promoting the agenda of the far left.”
Perkins cited the PBS children’s television show Arthur for promoting same-sex marriage to children.
“When Donald Trump became president, one of the first things his budget proposed was slashing the $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The left always pleads with Republicans to lay off Bert and Ernie, but what they really mean is: Don’t stop funding the left’s free microphone,” Perkins wrote.
“For years, NPR and PBS have taken advantage of the airwaves to spout their radical agenda. And in the end, taxpayers are the ones that have been puppets—for the left. But now that PBS has shown that it can’t be trusted, it’s time for Big Bird’s liberal friends to feather their own nest.”
Meanwhile, Mary Grabar and Tina Trent, who are both academics, called out PBS lesson plans as “biased educational materials” on Accuracy in Media in 2012.
The two women described PBS’s biased content about matters of race, war, commerce, and former Republican President George W. Bush.
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