MCALLEN, Texas – In a recent interview, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez was asked if he would be pushing PBS to provide more education programs on TV while schools are closed.

Gonzalez responded to the question set by the Rio Grande Guardian: “Absolutely. PBS has always provided excellent educational programming and it has never been more needed than today.”

Gonzalez’s efforts have now paid dividends as PBS has announced a raft of new daytime programming aimed at students in elementary, middle and high schools.

One of the PBS stations to air more education programs is KEDT-TV, which covers the Coastal Bend area. 

Don Dunlap

“In an effort to help schools in the Rio Grande Valley with their distance learning needs during the COVID crisis, KEDT-TV is providing an extensive Distance Learning Platform FREE to all RGV schools,” said Don Dunlap, president and general manager of KEDT. 

Dunlap said KEDT is now providing all South Texas schools free access to the complete PBS Learning Media, Pre K – 12 Distance Learning Platform.  

“It contains over 120,000 videos, tests, inter-actives, worksheets and lesson plans with easy remote access for teachers and students,” Dunlap said, enthusiastically.

“All of the online materials are searchable by grade level, subject matter and Texas standards.”

Dunlap said thousands of school districts across the country are using this distance learning platform.

“It is provided by local PBS stations at no cost to school districts, private schools, homeschools and parents interested in helping their children at home.”    

Dunlap provided this link to learn about and register for the extensive Pre K – 12 distance learning programs: 

Gonzalez said he was thrilled PBS stations are working closely with local and state school districts to help parents and educators fill educational gaps while schools are closed.  

“Public media stations are playing a vital role in providing education resources to support remote learning for students and teachers and to provide families and school systems with enhanced support during this unprecedented time,” he said.

PBS provided the Rio Grande Guardian with an exhaustive list of the programs and features it is providing during the coronavirus public health emergency. The list includes:

  • A new PBS KIDS for Parents daily newsletter offers educational videos, games and related offline activities to help keep kids playing and learning while school is closed. If you are interested in receiving it please sign-up here.  
  • PBS KIDS has refreshed the “When Something Scary Happens” collection from Daniel Tiger and Arthur, helping children cope with worried feelings.

Because the Valley has traditionally not had a well funded or supported PBS station, it lacks the level of engagement enjoyed by other regions of the country. 

The Washington, D.C., and Maryland PBS stations have formed a partnership aimed at supporting the education needs of families whose children are learning from home during the coronavirus public health emergency.

The “At-Home Learning” initiative launched April 6 on Maryland Public Television (MPT), WETA, and Howard University Television (WHUT). The main feature of the collaboration is a coordinated schedule of educational programs selected by the stations and available weekdays to viewers free over the air, through cable and satellite providers and, in the case of MPT, on a livestream at

Resources for PreK-12 Educators

  • PBS local stations will continue to serve as resources for viewers to support children, families and teachers.
  • PBS LearningMedia is a free resource that offers resources for PreK-12 educators and a variety of features that support distance learning, including easy searching by grade level, curriculum area, and state and national standards, as well as integration with Google Classroom and Remind. 
  • PBS LearningMedia Virus Information & Prevention Collection –This collection of resources helps PreK-12 educators teach the nature of viruses (including novel coronavirus), how they are transmitted and the healthy habits we can all engage in to prevent their spread.
  • PBS and WGBH Boston have partnered to support distance learning. Beginning March 30, public media WORLD Channel from WGBH has been providing a daily, five-hour At-Home Learning Service, for students in grades 6-12, to PBS stations nationwide.  Read more here
  • Each Thursday, PBS has been airing Ken Burns’s film THE ROOSEVELTS as part of “American History Night with Ken Burns.”  THE ROOSEVELTS will be followed by THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA and THE WAR.  PBS Learning Media, will offer educators nationwide resources timed to the re-release of these films in the “Ken Burns Classroom” hub. This includes a library of videos, interactive media and other materials to help students further explore the complex historical events and issues illustrated in the films. Burns will also participate in teacher forums and online discussions with students.

In Texas, Houston and Dallas seem to be well served for PBS’s education initiatives.

  • Houston Public Media has revamped its schedules to provide programming that supports students from pre-kindergarten through high school. This schedule was changed to meet the educational needs of students, with additional educational resources available online.
  • KERA in Dallas has curated a variety of tools and materials for parents and caregivers with school-aged children at home, as well as for educators who are teaching children remotely. These include: Distance Teaching: Learning at home, Family Care: Learning good habits, Child’s Play: Learning and growing, In the News: Learning about the virus.

Nationwide Resources

  • PBS KIDS Broadcast
  • Stations throughout the country run a PBS KIDS 24/7 channel filled with trusted educational content that is available for free, over the air to all families.
  • PBS Daily Email for Parents
  • PBS is sending a daily email to families with resources for how to engage the nation’s youngest learners. Just yesterday, the American Pediatric Academy listed PBS as a valuable resource for families during these challenging times. PBS was the only media company mentioned in the article.
  • PBS KIDS Video
  • Available on mobile, tablet and connected TV devices, PBS KIDS offers on-demand educational videos and a livestream of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel. No subscription is required.
  • PBS KIDS Games App
  • Includes nearly 200 educational games, which can be downloaded for offline play anytime, anywhere. Learn more about this and PBS KIDS’ other apps at
  • PBS KIDS for Parents
  • A robust website with information, activities and tips for parents, including resources for talking with kids about coronavirus, encouraging healthy habits, managing worried feelings and supporting playful learning at home.
  • PBS LearningMedia is a free resource that offers resources for PreK-12 educators and families. The site has tens of thousands of state-curriculum aligned digital learning objects that support both classroom and distance learning. The content is searchable by grade level, curriculum area, state and national standards and it integrates with Google Classroom and Remind. The site pulls from the best of public media content as well content from NASA, the American Archive, the Library of Congress and more. 

Editor’s Note: Click here for a USA Today article that focuses on school districts that have created partnerships with local PBS stations to re-purpose existing programming and air segments for certain grade levels at specified times. 

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