O! Sunny Day!

It works! It really works!

For decades, PBS and those of us who work for public broadcasting stations like UNC-TV have touted the educational benefits of Sesame Street. Anecdotal evidence certainly demonstrated how powerful a tool one little show could be. Well, it should come as no surprise to discover that we were right – and we have the study to prove it.

A new study coauthored by economists Phillip B. Levine and Melissa Kearney (of Wellesley College and the University of Maryland, respectively) asserts that “Sesame Street is one of the largest early childhood interventions ever to take place.” They explain how Sesame Street improved school readiness and note how preschoolers in areas with better reception when the program began were more likely to advance through school as appropriate for their age.

“The evidence regarding the impact on ultimate educational attainment and labor market outcomes is inconclusive,” they say.

Again, this is nothing we in public broadcasting haven’t believed for years, but it’s nice to have academics with credentials far more impressive than my meager degree put the words down on paper.

To read the paper, titled Early Childhood Education By MOOC: Lessons From Sesame Street, click here.