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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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It turns out that the right-wing horror story about marauding bans of pre-school lunch police was more than a tad oversold by the “reporters” behind it.

Click here to read the head of the Locke Foundation’s tortured quasi-retraction.

UNCG Economics professor Dave Ribar also has a quite thorough debunking of the right-wing’s Nuggetgate at his blog: Applied Rationality.

Here are a couple of his nuggets of wisdom: Read More

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The one world government/black helicopter crowd is truly getting out of control. One day they’re claiming that anti-urban sprawl efforts are part of a grand conspiracy by the U.N. to take over the American government and the next they’re implying that the well-meaning but apparently silly actions of a pre-school helper is indicative of some sort of monstrous commie plot to put America’s children into little Mao suits.

Good grief people! Get a life. One anonymous parent apparently complains that, upon inspection, her pre-school child’s lunch is found by an overzealous worker to be deficient and you guys start screaming like Joe McCarthy on crystal meth.

What is it about the far right and school lunches? In years’ past, a Locke Foundation employee has ranted Read More

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Respected economist and early-childhood expert Timothy Bartik has a great post on why investing in high-quality early childhood programs is a smart, effective strategy to improve local economies and create jobs.

The whole post is short and well worth reading, but here are his top five reasons for local business leaders and policymakers to support investments in early childhood programs:

  1. Human capital is the key local competitive factor for businesses that is not readily portable.
  2. Human capital matters not just to my individual business, but to building regional clusters of businesses.
  3. Early childhood education is one of the most cost-effective methods of developing better local worker skills.
  4. Early childhood education is particularly good at increasing soft skills, which are of great importance to businesses.
  5. A large percentage of early childhood education participants will stay in the same local economy as working adults.
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It’s always pretty easy to tell when state Senate Republican leader Phil Berger is reading from talking points produced by his staff (and no, I’m not simply referring to the moments his lips are moving in public).

It’s most obvious when he tries to lob gratuitious (but usually awkward) barbs at Governor Perdue. Take this one from this morning’s News & Observer in which he tries to somehow blame the Governor for the General Assembly’s boneheaded decision to screw up the state’s pre-Kindergarten program:

“Our children and all North Carolinians, need leaders willing to protect our state’s fragile economy – not career politicians who use kids as pawns to win the next election.” Read More