LeVar Burton's Brilliant Defense of PBS Is a Wake-Up Call to Parents

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levar burtonBig Bird isn't the only one who's miffed at Mitt Romney right now. The politician's promise to cut funding for PBS if he's elected President has also infuriated former host of Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton (and, not for nothing, what kind of a human being do you have to be to get the Reading Rainbow guy mad at you?!).

In all seriousness, though, Burton is beloved as a part of PBS history, and when he spoke out against Romney on behalf of America's children, he also spoke on behalf of millions of parents like me who value and appreciate the part PBS played or plays in their children's lives.

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And personally, I'm grateful to Burton for his impassioned defense of PBS. Because not only is he uniquely qualified to make this argument, I have to hope that at some point, Romney will actually read these words:

I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion.

Educators across the country, as well as millions of children and adults know that the programming on PBS has been responsible for significant improvements in education, literacy, math, science and life skills for generations of our children.

PBS represents .00016% of our nation's budget, yet this free resource benefits kids across all economic circumstances. Defunding PBS directly punishes the less fortunate by removing this trusted and extraordinary educational resource available to all.

On behalf of America's children, I can't stay silent. I encourage you to join me in fighting this short-sighted and frankly mean-spirited attack on our children.

Sadly, I doubt the truth of these words would sink in even if Romney did read them. PBS represents .00016% of our nation's budget?! That's it?! Somehow that knowledge makes Romney's promise seem even more sinister. What does he have against our kids?

Do you agree with LeVar Burton?


Image via Clever Cupcakes/Flickr

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bills... billsfan1104

If only .00016 percent of the budget funds PBS, then they an do without tax payer dollars.  What part of "we are brok" dont you understand??  We need to make cuts, and if PBS cant survive without .00016 percent of the budget, then they need to rethink their own budget.

bills... billsfan1104

And I hadly doubt that your kids watch PBS.  The same with many American kids.  They are too busy watching the Disney Channel or NIckolodean(sp?)

Ginger Fargas

Billsfan you clearly don't read well. Its .00016 of the US budget but plays a much larger role for PBS' budget. And how is cutting something that small going to bring down the deficit enough to balance the gains made by the programming provided. And Yes. My children do watch PBS. Because we don't have cable it is one of the few stations we do have and one that I feel completely confident in letting them watch. Good luck with your own literacy pursuits.

nonmember avatar Littlefrogs

Seriously.. you think PBS is the problem? How about the BILLIONS in oil subsidies? Or billions in deductions for the wealthy? Or our insane military expenditures?

nonmember avatar Aundrea

We have satellite TV but my children still watch PBS they love their shows! I like Romney but the PBS remark made me do a double take. . .

bills... billsfan1104

Ginger, I read perfect, and I know what I read.  PBS can survive without the .00016 percent of the budget that they get.  Do you donate to PBS when they have the telethons???  I bet you dont. 

JAFE JAFE

If you think PBS is more important than jobs, health care and our country on the verge of collapse, you have serious mental problems. Go buy the darn DVD's. You people make me want to curse!!!! We need to fix other things right now. What the heck is the matter with all of you? Let's cut medicaid but keep a stupid tv channel. Seriously?


Every little bit helps Ginger. Why don't you go out and buy the DVD's yourself? 


This is about all I'm hearing today which really translates into Romney did a hell of a job last nighti f this is all you can find fault with.

Elizabeth Gronewald

I loved Reading Rainbow and I watched PBS in great quantities as a child. A small percentage of the budget is going towards funding. It is too small of a percentage to matter unless cuts similar to that are being made, as well as larger cuts.

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

Ginger - the funding makes up about 12% of pbs revenues. They would likely have to increase private sponsors / membership, but I doubt they would go under. The amount of funding is close to what was given to Solyndra. As a %, the amount may seem to be a drop in the bucket, but all those drops add up. I don't think anyone is saying pbs is unworthy of funding, but cuts need to happen across the board.

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