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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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This morning’s comes from the Durham Herald-Sun:

“Opening eyes to poverty
 
State lawmaker George Cleveland’s statement last week on extreme poverty is stomach-churning.

“We have no one in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty,” he said in the course of discussion about funding for the state’s early childhood education program.. “Poverty is you’re out there living on a dollar and half a day. I don’t think we have anybody in North Carolina doing that.”

We’re not sure what world Cleveland is living in, but poverty is an all too common sight in ours.

So what qualifies as extreme poverty? Read More

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Supporters of early childhood education who applauded Gov. Perdue’s decision to add 2,000 slots to Pre-K this year, may have less to celebrate after Thursday. That’s when the House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement meets to consider a draft report that would shift NC Pre-K toward privatization.

The Committee, co-chaired by Representatives Justin Burr (R-Stanly) and Rayne Brown (R-Davidson) would clarify the definition of “at-risk” to limit the eligibility for Pre-K classes to children whose families are  at or below the federal government’s poverty guidelines. (For comparison, 4-year-olds from a family of four with an income of around $50,000 are currently eligible for program. Under the House committee’s new proposal the threshold would be lowered to $22,000.)

In 2013, the legislative proposal would shift the NC prekindergarten program away from the public schools, if favor of licensed, private child care operations.

Here’s an excerpt from the draft report: Read More