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Mary E. Mannix's picture

I have spent the past year visiting and advocating for high quality pre-k classrooms in Pennsylvania. In the Fall as election day neared, I would ask the children what they thought it meant to be a "Governor of Pennsylvania". The conversations were so engaging I kept using the question as a conversation starter well after election day was over! It was interesting to hear their answers. Even more interesting that I could go in so many different schools; speak to such a variety of children and still hear many of the same thoughts and responses. Overall the children made the observation that they had more in common with a new governor than you would think. In honor of our new Governor Wolf's Inauguration today I put it in the form of a letter (at the end of this post).

Being a new governor is not too unlike a kid's first day in pre-k (or even preschool).

Today at the Inauguration there will be crowds of new faces and a few old ones welcoming the Governor Wolf. Today a four year old is starting a new pre-k classroom and he will see 10 - 20 or more new classmates and a number of adults all doing something different. He will have to trust them. He will have little opportunity to change what is happening to him.

Today Governor Wolf will place his hand on a family-owned mid-19th century Bible to swear in his duties. Today, our new four year old pre-k student will hope to find a familiar book in the Quiet Corner to re-group himself from all the new experiences and people.

Today Tom Wolf will be handed the key to the governor's mansion (to which he has already said he will not accept.) Our pre-k kid will hope to find a playmate on what he hopes will be a playground,

There are new people and new goals to meet. Friendships to forge and conflicts to resolve so that everyone understands.

Today Governor Wolf will be the center of a media storm of photos and news coverage marking his first official day in office. The state will mark time and the progress by this date. No one will mark the date of our new pre-k student, except maybe his parents. However, our whole state will mark how our state education system is doing by the standardized tests he will start taking at the end of Governor Wolf's four years in office. Our pre-k kid will enter Grade 3. How well he does in school relies heavily on whether or not he had a high quality early learning experience.

Community strength, business growth, physical health, and so much more falls heavily on the quality of the early learning experience of the first five years of Pennsylvania's youngest constituents. Instead of just saying, we support kids. It's time to really show them in the policies created and advocated for that Pennsylvania delivers for our kids. A state governor needs support, quality investment, high qualified, ethical advisors The same is true of the young learners of Pennsylvania.

Today, you and a four year old somewhere in Pennsylvania are sharing the same experience. As you start a new job; there is a four year old starting a new pre-k program. 

A Letter to Governor Wolf from Pre-K Kids in Pennsylvania:

Dear Governor Wolf:

Congratulations! It must be cool to be a new governor.

Make some good friends at your new job. Share what you have with them. Don't leave anyone out. Let everyone have a turn. Know how many people are in Pennsylvania - especially kids. Make sure you take a rest time after your lunch. When someone is not being nice to you, ask for help. Sit down and talk when you aren't getting along. If I was governor, I would make sure all kids can play and paint. I think everyone in Pennsylvania should have a new book to read. Maybe you could help all teachers in Pennsylvania be like [my teacher]. She is really smart and she never yells at us. Go outside to play with the people that help you do your job. Maybe with other people too. Thanks for being our governor.

Love, Cole Sam Jeffrey Grayson Melinda Marie Anna Julia Julie Winnie Katie Emma Emily Gracie ........and many many more

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