I'm a fan of Mike Petrilli's writing and thinking. But I gotta call him on this. He blogs that he's now a fan of PBS Kids, because his 4 year old likes the shows, and because Mike P thinks they're more educational than those on Nick Junior. So he approves the gov't subsidy, because he argues this causes the quality. This surprises him, because he tends to favor smaller government.
Dear Mike P,
Thoughtful stuff as always.
I too have a 4 year old. Not sure I agree that PBS shows "are more educationally sound."
1. Nick Jr shouldn't be accountable for the fact that its sister channel, Nick, has SpongeBob.
That's like holding Disney Channel accountable for John Carter. Or dinging Curious George because PBS has pledge drives. No relationship.
2. I'm not that impressed with PBS Dinosaur Train on dino content. Nick Jr. Dino Dan is at least its equal.
3. PBS Cat In The Hat has a lot of knowledge? What are you smoking there in Northern Virginia? It has Martin Short. Case closed.
4. I agree that Nick Jr Backyardigans is amazing -- if that ran on PBS would you argue that it's only possible b/c of the subsidy?
5. I agree PBS Kids has good science shows for kids. But
a. Since they do, Nick Jr presumably looks for the niche PBS doesn't fill. One is multicultural characters that 3 and 4 year olds seem to like -- Ni Hao Kai Lan, Little Bill, Dora, Diego.
b. If PBS didn't produce the science shows, what makes you think that Nick Jr wouldn't?
Nick Jr runs Team Umizoomi. It's all about math. "Geo" and "Mili" are the lead characters, and most of the show is finding patterns. Why wouldn't they do the same if PBS weren't already on the scene?
I am a PBS fan. Used to serve on one of its advisory boards. Also a Match board members is senior staff there. I just believe that Nick Jr shows the market can create quality kids programming too.
Now I know Fordham favors accountability. The only way I know to resolve this question is for a knowledge bowl. My 60% Nick Jr and 40% PBS 4-year-old competes against your PBS-heavy 4-year-old. E.D. Hirsch writes the questions. Loser has to pledge enough money to PBS to get one of those tote bags.
Best, Mike G.