Sesame Street, the children’s television program that taught generations of Americans their ABCs, the difference between here and there, and the importance of rubber duckies, might be on the chopping block. President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget slashes funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which funds PBS—the channel that shows Sesame Street for free around the country.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney defended this move by claiming that the White House would not “ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs.” (At least some sources suggest the real reason for the budget cut is personal: President Trump apparently has a vendetta against the show for depicted him as “Donald Grump.”)
Parents around the country (including in West Virginia and Detroit) depend on Sesame Street to teach and entertain their kids. Researchers in more than 1,000 studies have shown Sesame Street to help fill the gaps in early childhood education left by the lack of universally available high-quality preschools.
If the federal government ceases funding CPB, Sesame Street will not disappear. It will still be available on HBO, a premium television service. Ending public funding will simply mean that the poor children most in need of an extra educational boost will lose access to its content.
Congressional leaders have indicated that President Trump’s budget plan is unlikely to pass Congress in its current form. Whether Republican leaders will specifically stand up for Big Bird (and Oscar and Elmo and Cookie Monster) remains to be seen.
What do you think? Will Congress Save Sesame Street?
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