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Kearney and Levine study identifies Sesame Street education boon

Effect pronounced for boys, African Americans, and children in disadvantaged areas

A new study by Faculty Associate Melissa Kearney and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College finds significant impact on education outcomes for children who had access to the famed "Sesame Street" television show.

The paper, which employs a natural experiment relating to availability of the program in various areas, "finds that the show has left children more likely to stay at the appropriate grade level for their age, an effect that is particularly pronounced among boys, African Americans and children who grow up in disadvantaged areas," writes Jim Tankersley of the Washington Post. He notes that "while it might seem implausible that a TV show could have such effects, the results build on Nixon-era government studies that found big short-term benefits in watching the show, along with years of focus-group studies by the team of academic researchers who help write 'Sesame Street' scripts. Several outside researchers have reviewed the study, and none are known to have questioned its results."

See the complete Washington Post story

This article has been picked up by numerous media outlets, such as :

The Economist

National Public Radio - Morning Edition

Huffington Post


Global News Canada

South China Morning Post (subscription)

NewAmerica EdCentral

Washington Post Blog