@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Obama steps into NC Pre-K fray

Posted June 4, 2013

— Two days before President Barack Obama visits a Mooresville school, the White House said Tuesday that North Carolina is eligible for $102.2 million in federal funding to help expand pre-kindergarten classes statewide.

The federal Preschool for All program proposed by Obama would require a state match of $10.2 million to provide pre-kindergarten seats to nearly 12,500 children from low-income families next year.

"Providing a year of free, public preschool for every child is an important investment in our nation’s future, providing our children the best start in life while helping hard-working families save thousands each year in costs associated with early care and education," the White House said in a statement.

This proposal calls for investing $75 billion in early childhood education nationwide over the next decade.

The House last month approved a bill that would cut in half the number of children eligible for North Carolina's pre-kindergarten program by changing the legal definition of an at-risk child.

More than 60,000 children a year are eligible for NC Pre-K under the current guidelines, but cutting the allowable family median income and eliminating some other groups considered at-risk, including children with limited English proficiency or chronic illness, would cut that to 31,000.

Supporters say the proposal focuses limited state money on 4-year-olds who most need a year of schooling to prepare them for kindergarten.

NC Pre-K has never been fully funded, and its budget was cut by 20 percent last session.

Changing the definition of at-risk would also help bring the state closer to compliance with a 2011 court ruling.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled the state's constitution requires it to provide free pre-kindergarten to all at-risk 4-year-olds. His ruling, however, didn't deal with the definition of "at-risk."

12 Comments

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  • Krimson King Jun 6, 2013

    Mustaine: "I simply cannot support any programs that list "limited English proficiency""

    Your xenophobia is showing...

  • mustainemad Jun 6, 2013

    I simply cannot support any programs that list "limited English proficiency" as a designation for "at risk"--economic situation, lack of parental involvement (in jail, foster, etc) or designated medical or learning disabilities I support, but not the fact that you cannot speak the language of the country you chose to move into.

  • Krimson King Jun 5, 2013

    SmartMoney - the Sequester involved $87 billion (with a "b"), not $87 million... To put into perspective, that's $100 vs $0.10... Can you spare a dime???

  • NoKoolAid Jun 5, 2013

    Absolute waste of money there is no need to spend millions more than O complained about for PRE-K!!!! which none of us needed EVER. This is another power grab by your corrupt federal government. Anyone that can't see that is blind, deaf and certainly dumb.

  • NoKoolAid Jun 5, 2013

    This is crazy. $102.2 million for pre-K, when he b**ched and moaned about an 87 million sequester, cutting our troops breakfast, blue angels, tours in the white house (oh but not his celebrity parties). Anyone that doesn't see this as an out of control insane government is sincerely messed up in the head. No one needs pre-K!!!!!!!! For years kindergarten was just fine thank you, now gov't has their hands in another bribe and waste of taxpayer funds.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 5, 2013

    " Either way, knowing that Pre-K is effective at least in K-2, means that children that have the advantage of Pre-K are not held back by those that did not."

    this is also incorrect.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 5, 2013

    "You could argue that both groups of kids do not do as well as their more affluent peers"

    That is nonsense and always has been nonsense. It is just another convenient excuse used by a dysfunctional public school system to explain away its failures.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 5, 2013

    "Providing a year of free, public preschool for every child is an important investment in our nation’s future, providing our children the best start in life while helping hard-working families save thousands each year in costs associated with early care and education," the White House said in a statement."

    FREE; so why does FREE require people to handover 120 million dollars of their hard earned money if this is FREE? If this ever rolls out to "Free for ALL" which does not and can not exist, it will eliminate an enormous number of small businesses and private sector workers thus making it even more expensive. Odd how much "FREE" costs when government does it. This is a waste of money and exactly the opposite direction of what should be happening. We should be compressing the number of years it takes to get to a High School diploma, not adding to them.

  • Krimson King Jun 5, 2013

    Danny: "Our Pre-K programs have not been successful. Recent studies have shown that kids lose all benefit before 3rd grade."

    Google "duke pre-k study" or "unc pre-k study", you'll find ample evidence suggesting that Pre-K is very effective in the long term.

    The perceived loss of benefits by 3rd grade only means that children that did not have Pre-K have caught up to their peers that did. You could argue that both groups of kids do not do as well as their more affluent peers, but that has nothing to do with the effectiveness of Pre-K, but with the lack of effective parenting, social pressures, etc.

    To suggest that kids "lose any benefit by 3rd grade" and conclude that it is ineffective ignores the fact that it did have a benefit from K-2. Either way, knowing that Pre-K is effective at least in K-2, means that children that have the advantage of Pre-K are not held back by those that did not.

  • Danny22 Jun 5, 2013

    The Feds always give out big federal dollars that have to be matched or last a yr or 2, then you are left holding the big bill. Our Pre-K programs have not been successful. Recent studies have shown that kids lose all benefit before 3rd grade. It has amounted to high priced babysitting on the taxpayer's dime.

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