UH Closing Its Acclaimed Pre-School; Parent Of An Alumnus Saddened

There is an acclaimed -- if ominously titled -- place on the UH campus called the "Human Development Lab." No cyborgs are created there (that we know of); instead it's a pre-school where UH students in relevant majors can come in and watch, often behind a two-way mirror, as tots grow up and learn.

Now it's closing. The Chron reports that UH officials say the school loses $100,000 a year, and doesn't really fit anymore with the School of Education's goals.

Parents are protesting, blaming problems on HDL being transferred from the College of Technology (Cyborgs!! We knew it!!) to the College of Education. An open letter states:

Prior to these transfers, while functioning with the current school director and lead teachers, HDLS flourished as an exemplary preschool with high parent satisfaction and fiscal strength. In the past two years, COE administration's interference with the management of the school has caused the erosion of the quality of programs, a decrease in adequate levels of staffing, a failure to adhere to accreditation standards and ethics, and a patronizing attitude towards stakeholder concerns.

Turns out we can't be too objective about this.

Our kid went to HDL, which is/was open to anyone in Houston. (This was back in the College of Technology days.) We can't imagine a better pre-school.

It was run according to Jean Piaget's Constructivist theory, which....well, we were never really into the gobbledegook of educational theory. Whatever the academic underpinnings, it worked.

Teachers were great; the place was tiny but no one cared. The usual kid problems got worked out, and it seems every child we know who went there went on to great success in the more formal school system.

The place really was a gem. Maybe it's not a gem anymore, but it will still be sad to see it go.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly