Sesame Street Under Fire

M’kay. Going to steer a little political here. Generally, I try to keep such things off this page, but in this case, I feel too strongly. In regards to Mitt Romney’s claim that he wouldn’t cut education funding, yet would defund PBS, those are contradictory statements. I’ll ignore for the moment the absurdity of balancing the budget by pledging to cut “unnecessary” programs like PBS (0.012% of the annual budget), while simultaneously promising to ramp up our 700 billion dollar annual defense budget by 20%. Instead, I’m going to focus on the education aspect of this issue.

The plain truth is, Big Bird is an educator. Possibly one of the most important, yet under appreciated ones working. For many decades, Sesame Street has helped jump-start the education of hundreds of millions of children before they ever set foot inside a classroom. The foundation it gives children in language, math, science, and important social skills is simply unmatched in the history of television. For many children with parents of more modest means, who cannot afford private preschools, it is the first school they attend, and at a time that is absolutely crucial for brain development. Sesame Street has helped generations get a leg up before starting class, and continues to supplement and reinforce their education through the early years of school once they return home.

Now, ol’ Mittens almost certainly did what was best for his children by sending them to preschool where they were taught in person. I would never deny that luxury to those who can afford to do so. However, his success leaves him without a clear understanding of how important PBS and Sesame Street is to parents who can’t afford to. He doesn’t understand that Big Bird, the Count, Oscar, and all the rest may be the difference between a child excelling early on, or falling behind their classmates.

Help me explain it to him. If you grew up watching Sesame Street, if you learned the ABC’s from Muppets, if the skits and jingles are still in your head, please, repost this. Show Governor Romney that cutting funding to PBS IS a cut to education in this country.

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