September Programming Preview: It’s Back to School–and Prime Time for Cable in the Classroom
By Shirley Brady Many students already are back in school—and cable systems already are helping them ease out of summer and back to the books. Time Warner Cable in Cincinnati, for instance, started running PSAs last month encouraging kids to show up for the first week of school with the slogan: "In life I want to be a winner. That’s why I’ll be in school on the first day." Cable in the Classroom is a major player in cable’s fight to motivate students and help resource-strapped educators year-round. As this issue’s cover story highlights, with the help of the cable industry’s longstanding commitment, Cable in the Classroom has created some of the most empowering and inspiring partnerships operators have with local communities. In addition to expanding its use of broadband-enabled technologies, the heart and soul for many schools is the free cable programming the cable industry provides to teachers. Cable in the Classroom’s monthly Access Learning magazine includes a taping calendar featuring programming highlights plus daily suggestions of commercial-free, educational programs from cable networks that teachers can tape for in-classroom educational use. This month’s highlights include CNN Student News, a daily news program for middle and high schools that returned on Aug. 16 in time for the 2004-2005 school year, after Turner Learning put it on hiatus for some fine-tuning. The 10-minute program airs Monday to Friday throughout the school year on CNN Headline News at 3:12 a.m. ET for taping. This fall, CNN Student News will educate students about the presidential campaign by offering special political packages called "Getting to Know the Issues" each Tuesday leading up to Election Day on Nov. 2. It also offers its newscasts as streaming video online at CNNStudentNews.com, where, starting Sept. 13, educators can request "The America Votes 2004 Teaching Kit," a CD-ROM. The national elections are prominent in cable programming this month and throughout the fall, during which Cable in the Classroom’s website will be featuring cable programming pegged to the elections on a special page (www.ciconline.org/elections04). Through Sept. 30, CIC Online features timely election-related content from cable’s leading political programmer, C-SPAN, by linking to its excellent series on campaign advertising (www.c-span.org/classroom/govt/campaignads.asp). C-SPAN’s related educational resources, including lessons for exploring and interpreting this always contentious form of political communication, should be must-see viewing for all voters in this election, not just students who are first-time voters this year. Another programming highlight in September comes from Nickelodeon: the award-winning series Nick News With Linda Ellerbee, which this month offers teachers a half-hour special titled Mi America! A Celebration of Hispanic Culture. This half-hour magazine, which looks at the culture of the largest minority in the U.S., is produced for all kids (Hispanic or not) in grades 4-6 and will be available from Sept. 17 to 27. In addition to Cable in the Classroom’s own e-newsletter, teachers can access taping details and educational resources on all these (and many more) outstanding cable programs by visiting www.ciconline.org/accesslearning.