Monday, October 15, 2012

The Case For Big Bird

While my blog is most definitely apolitical in nature, I can't help but contemplate the upcoming election, and the rhetoric and posturing, and how it affects my life, and the life of my children.  You might suspect from my geographical location that I am a PBS fan, and you'd be right. I also get pretty fired up about the school lunch program. While I think this whole Big Bird thing has become a talking point, and not nearly as important as issues like jobs, the economy, and education, I do think there is connection between early childhood education and those big issues, and it's worth my time to stand on my own soapbox to give a quick pitch.  

I have the absolute luxury of being able to stay at home with my younger child.  I have to make financial sacrifices in order to do so, but I do it, because it makes the most sense for our family.  Every morning while I clean up the breakfast dishes, make the beds, and get the laundry moving, Wylie gets to watch a show. His favorites include Wild Kratts, Dinosaur Train, and occasionally Sesame Street, all on PBS. To say that these shows have enriched his understanding of the world, sparked his curiosity, expanded his vocabulary, and helped to develop his critical thinking skills would be an understatement.  Because we have access and the means to afford it, he attends preschool a couple of days a week; an enrichment that many families in this country simply cannot afford. While I know that Sesame Street itself gets most of it's funding from sponsors and private donations, federal de-funding would compromise countless programs, and severely limit access to PBS for rural populations.  

Here's my case for Big Bird: The people with the least access to early childhood education need this the most, and at 1/100th of one percent of our federal budget, why single it out? Anyone with a television can have access to this enrichment. Truly, kids deserve better. They deserve access to preschool, but until then we have Big Bird and friends. Our government should leave it be, and as individuals, if we can afford it, we should support our local public television and radio stations. It's really the least we can do.


  1. Thanks for the post, and I want to echo your praise of PBS. My boy loves Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train as well. Sid the Science Kid is another favorite. He is four, just starting preschool, and has learned an awful lot from these shows. We do not watch much TV around our house, and are pretty picky about what we expose our kids to. PBS programs are really the only ones we have found that actually respect kids, and that focus on not just entertaining them and distracting them, but on nurturing and teaching them. I watch with him, and I'm always impressed that PBS still aims for a very high standard. The spirits of Henson and Rodgers are still alive and well. It is easy to take this stuff for granted, but it's a vital part of our culture, and we would all be a little bit poorer without it. And for families not blessed with the budget to send their little ones to preschool the way we are, PBS is one of the few things out there to help get children ready to succeed in school, at no cost to the viewer. Long live Big Bird!


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