Sesame Street’s Letter Of The Day Is 'S' for Sad, Here’s Why

Sesame Street is more than just a kids' show. It's a high-quality, free preschool. It's a place where kids learn about both the world and themselves. Sesame Street has broken down barriers of race, religion, class, and sexuality, one little generation at a time. And now there's going to be half as much Sesame Street to go around, and that's a crummy thing. The letter of the day is "S" for sads.

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The Public Broadcasting Network (PBS), which has aired Sesame Street across the country since it launched in 1969, announced today it will cut Sesame Street's broadcast down from 60 minutes to 30 starting Nov. 16.

According to Hildy Ko, program manager at KCTS in Seattle, the half-hour version of Sesame Street is about cost savings, "It's always about the money and how we can stretch our pennies."

PBS, which largely funds the production of shows like the iconic Sesame Street, has seen its funding from the federal government all but disappear, and with it the country's free, over-the-air access to educational shows like Sesame Street and others. PBS calls itself "Americas Largest Classroom," and it's best class just got cut in half.

Here are a few reasons why it's such a bummer there will be less Sesame Street starting this fall.

1. Sesame Street is as good as preschool

A study released this spring shows kids who live in cities where Sesame Street is widely broadcast and available are 14 percent less likely to fall behind in school -- a similar benefit to the pre-K program Head Start. The producers behind Sesame Street are educators and take great care in making sure the show's scripts follow a strict academic curriculum, and the results have been staggering.

2. Sesame Street isn't marketing to your kids

Along with its academic cred, Sesame Street is commercial-free -- another reason the show has hit tough financial times. So instead of plopping your kid down in front of a show where they're inundated with Snackeez and Balloon Bonanza ads, they can get a little learnin' on while you make dinner.

3. Immigrants learn about American culture and English through Sesame Street

Sesame Street airs in 25 countries including Tanzania, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Nigeria and has been a way for people -- particularly immigrants to America -- to learn English and familiarize themselves with American culture.

4. Sesame Street builds kids' spirits in tough times

From their bilingual initiative "Little Children, Big Challenges" that helps kids cope with a parent in prison to divorce and even HIV/AIDS, Sesame Street has been helping kids through their toughest challenges and giving them the emotional IQ to cope for more than 40 years.

5. Parents will now  have to pay for first-run Sesame Street episodes

Along with the announcement that PBS is cutting Sesame Street's real estate in half came the news that premium pay channel HBO will air the first-run episodes of Sesame Street rather than PBS. That means kids in lower-income households without premium cable won't have access to the latest Sesame Streets for free over the air like they once did, meaning the kids who needed free preschool the most will be the ones who lose biggest.

As sad as today's news is that the world will have to make due with a little less Sesame Street magic in the world, the program manager at Delta Broadcasting in Michigan, Joseph Yezak, put it best.

"The bottom like," Yezak said, "is that any length of Sesame Street is better than no Sesame Street."

 

Image via Augustin Raluy/Flickr

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