Surprise Email Today from My Pre-K Teacher

2014-04-12 09.49.15

There was a big surprise in my email inbox today…

I have discussed Pre-K previously on Cloaking Inequity. Pre-K, a Gold Standard: “You certainly don’t get what you don’t pay for” was one of my early post back in 2012. I gave kudos to the San Antonio community for voting to spend tens of millions of dollars on the program. I discussed Obama recent prioritization of Pre-K in Obama’s approach to education in the 2014 State of the Union. I talked about how Pre-K is 1412% more effective than Teach For America in Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence (The Sequel). In Dallas, the billionaires and millionaires are funding a hostile charter takeover of the entire Dallas ISD district. See the post Beware: A Hostile Takeover of ALL Dallas Public Schools is Underway. If Dallas wants a non-experimental approach to education, we recommended the following in our policy brief released by the Texas Center for Education Policy:

 There are very few gold standard reforms in the research literature. However, Pre-K is one of the educational policies with demonstrative empirical evidence[i] supporting its implementation, full-day showing more impact than half-day.[ii] For Latino/as and African Americans, Pre-K is shown to be especially promising for closing the achievement gap. The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) recently released a brief summarizing the academic and fiscal benefits of universal preschool.[iii] San Antonio should be commended, as their community is leading the state of Texas by investing in the Pre-K 4 SA initiative.

My recollections of my Pre-K experience is spotty. I remember not wanting to eat the celery and just licking out the peanut butter. I recall faking naps because I couldn’t find it within me to sleep. I also remember winning the cutest kid photo contest because my mom dressed me up as a mini-santa— I think the prize came with candy (See photo above). But until today, I never thought/realized that perhaps I am a poster child for Pre-K. Today a letter came to me via email from Mary Anne Hoffman, my Pre-K teacher. As you can imagine, I was quite surprised. Here is what she wrote:

Hi Julian,

I was reading comments on testtalk.org when I saw your name and picture at the bottom of the page.  I don’t know if you will remember me, but I sure do remember you.  I was one of the teachers at Kinder-Care in Lansing from 1979-1980.  When you came to the center, you were four years old.  I have never forgotten you and believe it or not, I have thought of you over the years!  I only lived in Lansing for one year.  After that, I moved to a community south of Pittsburgh and have been teaching Title 1 reading for the last 34 years. (I went back to school at one point and got my Reading RScreen Shot 2014-04-12 at 10.06.33 AMecovery training at Duquesne University. I am currently working with the Fountas & Pinnel Leveled Literacy Intervention program.)

Seeing you on that website and reading up on your career was one of the highpoints of my week.  You have done so well!  Congratulations!!!  I would like to think I had something to do with it, especially with my Book Breaks at least twice a day at the center as well as making reading books a station in my room. ( It was my version of Sustained Silent Reading for pre-schoolers.) I am pretty sure, though, that you had it in you all along… Couple that with your parents’ support and you couldn’t have been anything else but a success!  Please tell your parents “Hello.”  I remember them also.

On the professional side…where has my educational system gone as well as my version of the America we are losing????  I am a heart-broken teacher wondering what will happen to education.  When did we become the enemy?  I had hoped to round out my career feeling good about the work that I have done but it’s very hard to do that. ( Sorry for that mini rant!)

Well, Julian, I am so proud of you and I wish you the best of luck in life and most of all I wish you peace, love, and happiness!

Mary Anne Hoffman

Thank you Mary Ann.

Can we add celery, a santa suit, silent reading, and naps onto CI’s First Infographic: Perks of Preschool?

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Please blame Siri for any typos.

[i] http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentId=15440

[ii] https://www.dropbox.com/s/cdqb3jtpddarasu/Full day vs. Half Robin et al 2006.pdf

[iii] http://tinyurl.com/a3kh6ps

No-more-naps.

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Categories: Early Childhood

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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2 Comments on “Surprise Email Today from My Pre-K Teacher”

  1. NY Teacher
    April 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I just started this at Petition2Congress. It is very easy to sign, copies are automatically sent to President Obama, and your own senators and your representatives. Please take the time to read and the petition entitled: STOP COMMON CORE TESTING. Thank you.

    http://www.petition2congress.com/15080/stop-common-core-testing/?m=5265435

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