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Education policy maven Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute think tank offers straight talk on matters of policy, politics, research, and reform. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

An Amusing Interlude...Courtesy of PBS

By Rick Hess — August 09, 2012 1 min read
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On Tuesday, my pal Mike Petrilli penned one of those blog posts seemingly designed to woo the taste-makers at the New York Times and NPR. He offered up an enthusiastic defense of federal funding for PBS, arguing: “I used to agree with George Will and other small-government conservatives that Uncle Sam has no business subsidizing children’s television on PBS. But no longer. If anything, I’ve come to believe that is a sweet spot for federal involvement in education.”

The highlight for me, though, was not Mike’s argument (with which I disagree), but a bit of the email banter that followed. Since it’s August and things are slow, I thought it amusing enough to share. In the post, Mike raved about shows like Sid the Science Kid and Wild Kratts and then off-handedly observed, “The line-up is rounded out with several pleasant if content-free offerings that aim to teach character and the like (Arthur, Caillou, Clifford, and so forth).”

One ed researcher was moved to respond, “I’d certainly disagree with you about Caillou being ‘content-free.’ It basically is a show about how important it is to be a politically and socially liberal parent [that tries] to shame parents who take a more traditional and firm approach to raising children...Caillou is about as content-free as The O’Reilly Factor. It’s also terribly boring.”

Which prompted one wry wonk to reply, “I’d like to think that regardless of our various politics we can all agree that Caillou sucks.”

And another to interject, “I’ll have to be the one to defend Caillou, who is, after all, enduring some kind of difficult medical condition that causes child baldness.”

I love August. Tomorrow, we’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming.

The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.