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A three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling this morning upholding Superior Court Judge Howard Manning’s ruling from the summer of last year that:

“The State of North Carolina shall not deny any eligible at-risk four year old admission to the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program (NCPK) and shall provide the quality services of the NCPK to any eligible at-risk four year old that applies.”

The court also upheld Manning’s decision to invalidate state budget provisions that interfere with such a result.

It’s clearly time for the General Assembly to stop stonewalling on this constitutional mandate and appropriate the money necessary to do this critical job NOW. 

 

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There’s some new and concrete confirmation of the common sense analysis highlighted earlier this morning in the post about last night’s Democratic gubernatorial debate. It comes from this study released by Action for Children North Carolina, entitled “Public Investments Matter for Child Well-Being: Smart State Policy Can Change Lives.”

“The public policy in each state that most strongly correlates with high child well-being is the state and local tax rates and related revenues (r = +0.50).x

Figure 4 shows that states with higher tax rates and revenues have higher child well-being scores than states with lower tax rates and revenues.” 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