12/22/2011 09:45 am ET | Updated Feb 21, 2012

Learning Matters Plays a Vital Role in Education Reporting

For 16 years Learning Matters with John Merrow has been showing the nation what's really happening in public education at all levels. Learning Matters has been producing education reports for PBS NewsHour as well as producing independent documentaries about what is happening in our schools.

In 2011 they've taken viewers everywhere to an exemplary early learning program in Chicago, a ground-breaking "international" program for refugees in the Bronx, NY ; and a school whose first graders can read but whose fourth graders fail the state tests . Unlike most news outlets, Learning Matters reported on the Atlanta cheating scandal from the perspective of the kids whose scores were changed by the cheating adults.

2012 promises to be even more exciting and fulfilling. They will bring you two major documentary films, one about the renaissance of public education in New Orleans, the other about the controversial career of Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of the Washington, DC, schools. They are already at work on two stories for PBS NewsHour slated to air early in the new year, with more to come: a look at Common Core, unions and charters, and the development of online learning as a viable option.

Their brand of independent journalism has been coming to viewers free of charge for 16 years. But it is not actually free, of course. They rely on outside supporters--as many as possible, so that no single source of funding can attempt to influence our reporting.

They need to raise an additional $44,895 by 12/31meet a challenge from the Brin-Wojcicki Foundation. It's a $100,000 challenge grant, and people like you have already donated $55,105. So the missing $44,895 turns into $200,000.

Every dollar donated to Learning Matters before 12/31 is worth $4, a 300% return on investment. They promise us a twenty-fold return in quality independent coverage of education in return for your fully tax-deductible contribution.

We all need to know what is really happening in education and Learning Matters brings high quality reliable reporting to a field that is critically important to all of us.

Just click on this link to make a difference.