While working on some research over the weekend, I ran across this image from the November-December issue of Wonder Woman from 1969:
[Image description: Batman and Superman pointing at a television on which Batman and Superman appear. Batman says: "Hey kids! Are there younger kids at your house who can't read our adventures? Well, we know where they can get started!Right, Superman?" Hey points to the television screen, where the tv Bats and Supers are holding up signs that say "Sesame Street on National Education Television." Superman adds," They can learn the letters from The Man from Alphabet...take exciting trips..enjoy funny cartoons...learn how to count...plus lots of other interesting things.Batman and I will be there along with other famous stars. Watch us on Sesame Street! They hold up a sign for Children's Televison Workshop. A caption reads: "Sesame Street starts November 10th. It will be on the educational tv station in your town, Monday through Friday, an hour a day in color."]
It's helpful to be reminded that now-familiar institutions were once new, and Sesame Street once needed an explanation of exactly what it did: help young children with literacy and other skills that would give them a head start in school. And, by and large, that's still exactly what Sesame Street does.
Big Bird and his colleagues still help kids acquire skills that boost them at school--and they do so regardless of how "good" or "bad" the local public school is. This comes at no direct cost to the viewer; even if pinched parents have to cut back on things like cable television (or if they were never able to afford such an extravagance at all), they still have access to a high-quality educational resource.
Making it harder for poor kids to learn how to read is not supporting education, Mitt. It shouldn't take a super-hero to point that out.