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Editorial: Time to get moving on pre-K

If you get a chance, check out this Charlotte Observer editorial on the state Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the North Carolina’s still badly inadequate pre-Kindergarten effort. As the editorial notes:

Berger pre-K“We’re a little puzzled by the fist-pumping from Republicans in Raleigh last week after the N.C. Supreme Court tossed out a case involving the legislature and the state’s pre-K program.

The court, in a six-page decision, dismissed an appeal of a 2011 lower-court ruling that said the Republican-led legislature had violated a constitutional mandate by making it harder for at-risk children to participate in pre-K. The court also vacated that lower-court ruling because Republicans undid the two things that landed them in court in the first place – capping pre-K enrollment and initiating a co-pay for some eligible families.

With those measures gone, the justices said, the appeal before them was moot.

And yet, Senate leader Phil Berger crowed: ‘Today’s Supreme Court decision is a clear affirmation of the General Assembly’s Central role in shaping education policy.’

Added House Speaker Thom Tillis: ‘The order reinforces my own belief that we have taken seriously our constitutional duty to meticulously manage the resources of this state so that every child in North Carolina has an opportunity to obtain a sound education.’

Not exactly. What the order said was that lawmakers couldn’t appeal a ruling rejecting something they have now fixed. The Court left intact its 1997 and 2004 rulings saying that North Carolina had failed to meet its constitutional obligation to educate its children, and it left intact previous decisions from Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who has been authorized to translate Supreme Court rulings into directives for the state.”

The piece echoes Chris Fitzsimon’s column from Tuesday in which he also skewered Berger for his inappropriate celebration. As Chris noted:

Berger ought to stop patting himself on the back and start helping kids.

A couple of the news accounts of the court decision noted that it would take about $300 million a year to create enough slots for all the at-risk four-year-olds currently eligible for NC Pre-K to enroll—about twice the current level of funding for the program.

The tax cut for wealthy individuals and out of state corporations passed by Berger and his fellow legislators this summer will cost the state $438 million next year, $650 million a year when fully implemented.

That is more than four times the additional cost of fully funding NC PreK so all at-risk kids can enroll.

Berger clearly has his priorities and judging by his reaction to the court’s ruling and his decisions this legislative session, at-risk children in North Carolina do not appear to be among them.

– See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2013/11/12/bergers-telling-bluster-on-nc-prek-ruling/#sthash.C55fPVA3.dpuf

“Berger ought to stop patting himself on the back and start helping kids.

A couple of the news accounts of the court decision noted that it would take about $300 million a year to create enough slots for all the at-risk four-year-olds currently eligible for NC Pre-K to enroll—about twice the current level of funding for the program.

The tax cut for wealthy individuals and out of state corporations passed by Berger and his fellow legislators this summer will cost the state $438 million next year, $650 million a year when fully implemented.

That is more than four times the additional cost of fully funding NC PreK so all at-risk kids can enroll.

Berger clearly has his priorities and judging by his reaction to the court’s ruling and his decisions this legislative session, at-risk children in North Carolina do not appear to be among them.”

ad more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/11/13/4463251/why-the-celebration-over-pre-k.html#storylink=cpy

 

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