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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 1 Issue 4 (1972) Children and Television
Volume 1, Issue 4 (1972)

Children and Television

pp. 36—44

Granting the potential value of Head Start and other preschool programs, few educational opportunities are available to young children. The observation of a “cumulative deficit” demonstrates that this scarcity of opportunities affects poor, inner-city, minority-group children most deeply, so that when they reach the early school grades they start out behind more advantaged children and then proceed to fall further and further behind. For decades, we have known about the existence of this defeating “cumulative deficit” among poor children, but both its causes and remedies remain as mysteries. Is the disadvantaged child’s early environment barren and unstimulating or chaotic and overstimulating? Are disadvantaged children really inferior intellectually or are they simply smart in ways that we and the schools traditionally ignore? Maybe some new forms of reaching inner-city children should be tried, and television seems to be at least one possibility. Inner-city children surely watch enough of it. Perhaps some fraction of that watching time could be put to constructive use educationally.

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