I judged a debate contest at Roosevelt this weekend and heard new debaters arguing the merits of Head Start. If the young debaters are aiming at educational benefits, perhaps they should consider running plans based on Sesame Street:
Meanwhile, independent academic researchers have conducted more than 1,000 studies, making "Sesame Street" the most researched TV show in history.
One notable study reconnected with adolescents who had participated in "Sesame Street" research as preschoolers. It found that teens who watched "Sesame Street" in preschool had higher grades and spent more time reading for pleasure than other teens who had missed the show as children ["Sesame Street Still Big Bird's Nest After 40 Years," AP via MSNBC.com, 2009.11.09].
This may be the first time I've read about any research saying TV makes you smarter. Given that we're talking Sesame Street, I can believe it.
Now I'm not rushing to get cable so the divine Miss K doesn't fall behind her Bert-and-Ernie-blessed peers. Recent Nielsen numbers find 2–5-year-olds spending over 32 hours a week in front of a TV screen. Even without Sesame Street, I'm willing to bet our little one is coming out with a brain a little less mushy than average with her maybe 5 hours a week of Charlie and Lola and skunk and grizzly bear videos.
But a little more Big Bird can't hurt. (SDPB, turn up the wattage on your Brookings transmitter!)