Study: Sesame Street as effective as Head Start

WASHINGTON (WHTM) – A new study suggests young children who watch the TV show Sesame Street are just as prepared to begin school as those in Head Start, the publicly funded preschool program.

The study from the National Bureau of Economic Research calls Sesame Street “one of the largest early childhood interventions ever to take place.”

Co-authors Phillip Levine, an economics professor at Wellesley College, and Melissa Kearney, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, said Sesame Street accomplished its goal of improving school readiness and viewers were more likely to advance through school as appropriate for their age.

They said the effect was particularly pronounced for boys, minority children, and those living in economically disadvantaged areas.

The authors, however, said Sesame Street’s annual cost per child was just $5, while Head Start’s reported annual costs are now about $7,600 per child.

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