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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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Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP, called on state legislative leaders this morning to take immediate action to place the state in compliance with the recent ruling issued by the North Carolina Court of Appeals regarding access of at-risk four year olds to publicly-funded pre-kindergarten.

In a letter that Barber and allies hand delivered to the offices of House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger,  Barber said that:

“We believe many parents and their children, particularly in low-wealth counties, were told by school authorities that they could not enroll in More at Four programs this fall because of the obstacles your legislation created. It is now your duty to take immediate steps to make sure each school district complies with its constitutional duty, Read More

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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