My latest op-ed appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Wednesday. I had seen this article, in which we were informed that Governor McDonnell decided to forego $60 million in federal grant money for pre-K, and this part grabbed me:
The competition is aimed at ensuring children – especially those with disabilities or other challenges – are prepared for kindergarten.
Even so, I wasn’t going to write about it. After all, Lisa Howard had done a really good job of pulling the facts together about the importance of pre-K in this article. Normally, that’s the kind of thing I write.
But what I have been witnessing in the classroom over the last few months came to a head Monday, when I realized that a whole lot of them didn’t know the difference between a.m. and p.m. This was just the latest of the basics that I’ve had to slow down and teach.
I’ll bet my friend Jim knows the difference.
What’s really sad, though, is the assumptions made by many of the people who emailed me. They called pre-K babysitting, which is far from the truth. Without knowing the circumstances of Jim’s life, they assumed he was a poor black kid. Um – no, he wasn’t.
My niece teaches kindergarten. What these kids are expected to know at that age these days amazes me. But it makes me wonder about the ones who don’t know that stuff and how far behind they might fall.
All the more reason why we should have applied for the $60 million. Virginian’s kids deserve it. Their peers in other states are going to get it.