Save Children's Programming
A break from the European blogging. Please sign this MoveOn Petition to Save funding to PBS and NPR
. Here's why.
Let me preface my justification: I have a very good memory of my childhood. I remember being two and half, and quite solidly from being three and a half, and I remember not knowing how to read or count very well, and I remember learning those things. So the following testimonials are quite well informed.
I grew up watching Sesame Street. I'm mildly fanatic about it. I certainly learned how to read quickly because of it, and I am certain I learned to count quickly partially because of it because I still count out small amounts of time approximating twenty seconds with the four armed yogi tune. Jim Henson was a genius, and Sesame Street pipes that genius into the poorest American homes for the benefit of American children. It was colorful, fun, educational television that was in no way bad for me, and certainly good for me, yet entertaining enough to entice my parents and older sister (who also grew up watching Sesame Street) to come and watch it with me. If that's not family values, I don't know what is.
I also watched a lot of Reading Rainbow. Again, I know it enticed me to learn how to read quickly, and helped lure me to the library. I know how pages are printed and books are bound, how blue-screens work, and how tents are put up because LeVar Burton on Reading Rainbow showed me. I learned how a trumpet works and how soup is made by watching Mr. Rogers. I also watched a lot of 3-2-1 Contact. I still remember learning that electricity is usually generated by turbines and that the area of a rectangle is the length times the height, before I was really in school.
I didn't need these things. I come from a highly educated family and my house has always been full of books. But I was better with them, and they were equally available for plenty of children whose parents didn't have the education mine do. If TV acts as our nation's cheapest form of childcare, then PBS makes sure that situation is not a total loss.
As you may have heard, last week a Congressional Committee voted to cut $100 Million, something like 25%, to PBS. (News articles here
.) If you know anything about the shoe-string budget that shows like Sesame Street operate on, you realize this will be devastating. Many PBS affiliates already have trouble broadcasting in rural areas. Given the disproportionate amount of comfort and education this provides for American children, I think this is a ludicrous swipe at one of the only objective media sources and a cheap way of earnign points with the extreme right powerbase. This can't possibly please millions of centrist, Republican families who are interested in the best educational environment for their children. So please sign that petition