Philosophy with Attitude

Letter to my representatives regarding proposed cuts to Public Broadcasting

June 12, 2005

The Honorable Judd Gregg
111 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC20510

Dear Senator Gregg,

I was devastated to learn yesterday of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies' vote that would cut funding to Public Broadcasting. As a member of "Generation X", I grew up on PBS programming. I learned to read in part by watching Sesame Street and The Electric Company. I learned about good citizenship from Mister Roger's Neighborhood, and math and science skills from 3-2-1 Contact.

And now that I am a parent, my son Stephen is learning those same things from the programs that PBS Kids now airs, including Sesame Street. We don't have cable television, mainly because a good deal of the programming on it is violent, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate for small children, so PBS is the only channel he watches when it is TV time.

I feel secure letting him watch any of the PBS Kids programs, knowing that he won't see mindless violence, examples of bad citizenship, gender stereotyping, or any of the other gratuitous garbage that's so common in commercial cartoons. I know he's learning when he watches PBS, especially the "Ready to Learn" programs that make up the majority of our station's daytime schedule. The same could definitely not be said of other broadcast channels' daytime programming!

I support Public Broadcasting with my contributions, yet I know that not all parents are financially able to do so. For those who can afford neither cable nor pledges to their local stations, I believe that it is for the good of all citizens that the remainder of funding be provided by the government. Everyone benefits when children are well-educated - parents, teachers, and employers all know the necessity of a child who enjoys learning, and who has gained the skills necessary to function in a democracy. Public Broadcasting fulfills a mission that is desperately needed in today's society: keeping the populace informed and educated. Few other venues offer the wide range of programs that Public Broadcasting provides, because they are not seen as commercially viable. Yet I am only one of many millions who would sorely miss PBS and NPR were the smaller stations (like NHPR and WENH) to fail due to a lack of funding.

I hope that, should this appropriations bill come to a vote in the House, you will consider the good of all of our children, and vote against a cut to Public Broadcasting, and especially the "Ready to Learn" programs that are so critical in helping the next generation become intelligent, capable citizens of this republic.


Jan Andrea
Mother of two and supporter (financial and otherwise) of Public Broadcasting

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