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The good folks at a group called North Carolina Focus on Increased Education Leadership & Dignity (NC FIELD) are raising up an issue that deserves your attention year-round, but especially at Thanksgiving time: the plight of farmworkers and farmworker children. This is from an email the group sent out today:

“Tomorrow we remember the struggles of newcomers and the generosity of strangers….In eastern North Carolina, in just one county where some farmworker youth organizers live and work, the economic impact of agriculture is estimated at 30%. The jobs are some of the most dangerous in our nation, pay no overtime, legally employ children, and expose workers regularly to dangerous chemicals. The labor force responsible for that windfall is largely invisible, poverty-stricken, and as young as twelve years old.” Read More

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The Guv expands Pre-K. This is from the good folks at the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children:

Perdue expands NC Pre-K to 6,300 additional children
Decision is first step to comply with court mandate

RALEIGH – This morning, Governor Perdue announced that she will make NC Pre-K available to an additional 6,300 children. This move marks the state’s first attempt to comply with the recent Court of Appeals ruling that no at-risk child shall be denied access to NC Pre-K. Currently, there is a waitlist of 11,678 children for the program.

“Governor Perdue’s decision means that over 6,000 more children will enter Kindergarten better prepared to succeed in school and in life,” stated Rob Thompson, Executive Director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children. “We hope that the legislature will extend funding for these slots when it reconvenes in January.” Read More

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If you’re looking for a concise and common sense explanation of why North Carolina needs to invest more rather than less in pre-Kindergarten programs, read this op-ed by a Wake Forest educator named Kim Hughes in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer.

As Hughes’ piece makes clear, every day that North Carolina waits to create a truly universal and free pre-K program is another in which we have failed to do what we need to do to secure our future.   

 

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This is just in from the good folks at the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children:

For Immediate Release: 

Senate slashes infant mortality prevention programs:
Proposed budget draws ire from child advocates

RALEIGH, NC – The Senate’s proposed budget for 2012-13 would discontinue funding for all state-funded infant mortality prevention programs, according to the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, a statewide children’s advocacy group.

“This is a terrible budget for North Carolina’s children,” stated Rob Thompson, Executive Director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children. “North Carolina has an abysmal history when it comes to infant mortality, but we’ve made substantial progress over the past two decades. Unfortunately, the Senate budget has the potential to undue all of that.”

The specific programs discontinued in the Senate budget were: Read More

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Author and Duke University history instructor Gabriel Rosenberg has an excellent op-ed in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer about the Obama Administration’s recent and unfortunate capitulation to big business over proposed rules that would have provided somewhat tougher restrictions on child labor in dangerous occupations.  

About all you need to know about the proposed regs and their importance is to know that Sarah Palin was one of the big critics.

Here’s Rosenberg: 

“The criticisms contained startling inaccuracies. Read More