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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

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

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