One of the more impressive things about Baltimore television is the continued commitment to local public affairs programming by the three network affiliates.
WMAR-TV (Channel 2) continues its reporting on the environment. WJZ-TV (Channel 13) offers consistently strong "Get to Know" specials on local movers and shakers. And WBAL-TV (Channel 11) looks at education with its ongoing "Great Expectations" series.
Channel 11 offers another installment in that series at 8 tonight, with "Promises to Keep," a look at what the station feels "is right about about public education."
The show is uneven in production values and its choice of programs to highlight. But, overall, it does a good job of showing that learning can come in all kinds of packages.
The uneveness is due in part to the program being co-produced by Channel 11 and WCVB-TV, its sister station in Boston. Channel 11 produced reports on the Upton School and the Lady Baltimore Maritime Institute in Baltimore. Its Boston counterpart contributed reports on education programs in Pennsylvania, Texas and Arkansas.
None of WBAL's photography compares with the vivid images of black life in the rural South that WCVB presents, but on the other hand, the Boston station fails to find a program as interesting as Upton's, which educates children who are prevented by injury or illness from learning in traditional classrooms.
Two brothers with cystic fibrosis, a fifth-grader who recovered from a head injury and a professional woman who sustained severe childhood injuries offer moving testimony about what the school means to their lives.