Supreme Court to hear Pre-K access case

Posted March 8, 2013

NC Pre-K program, pre-kindergarten

— The North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether the state can deny at-risk children access to public pre-kindergarten programs.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning in 2011 threw out legislative changes to the early childhood education program that limited access and required parents to pick up part of the cost. He ruled that North Carolina has a constitutional duty to provide pre-kindergarten to at-risk 4-year-olds.

Lawmakers dropped those limitations last year, but Republican leaders still fought Manning's ruling, which could cost North Carolina $300 million a year.

The state Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Manning's ruling last August, saying that state can't erect artificial barriers to N.C. Pre-K. State lawmakers appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court allowed the petition for discretionary review.

The state defines at-risk children as those whose families earn below the statewide average, who have a disability or chronic health problem, come from a family that doesn't speak English at home or have parents on active military duty.

Officials have estimated that 67,000 children would qualify for pre-kindergarten statewide, but only 26,000 of them are now enrolled.


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  • krimson Mar 12, 11:38 a.m.

    "Pre-K is nothing more than a state program to teach kids what their irresponsible parents don't."

    That's exactly right. And Pre-K gives us an opportunity to teach those kids instead of letting them grow up to be criminals. I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend $8000 for Pre-K for some 4yo kid now, than spend $50,000 a year keeping him in jail years later. YMMV...

  • kermit60 Mar 12, 10:39 a.m.

    Seems funny all the peole saying how important Pre-K is to a childs education. Yet the very people who claim this and are in charge of these programs managed to get where they are at without it. Pre-K is nothing more than a state program to teach kids what their irresponsible parents don't.

  • my2cents-justsaying Mar 11, 4:34 p.m.

    Oh by the way...you can't just say your kid has behavioural or learning issues and get into the program...it has to be well documented, including evaluations by doctors (not M.D.'s, but PhD's, and that takes time)

  • krimson Mar 11, 1:51 p.m.

    "Since a foreign language at home puts children "at risk", all the more reason to enforce immigration laws, and to stop publishing every official word in Spanish."

    The US economy is quickly becoming more and more internationalized and yet some people are just plain xenophobic... Its a pity...

    Its also delicious irony that your handle is derived from Greek...

  • Terkel Mar 11, 1:37 p.m.

    Since a foreign language at home puts children "at risk", all the more reason to enforce immigration laws, and to stop publishing every official word in Spanish.

  • my2cents-justsaying Mar 11, 1:01 p.m.

    If you support public school systems, why do you have a problem with NC Pre-K? It basically just starts the program a year earlier!I totally accept responsibility for my child, pay $900/ month in preschool costs, but would love to have him in the Pre-K program.

    Maybe parents view taking responsibility for their child by ensuring that they receive an adequate early education.

    As stated below, this has lifelong benefits. Either stop being stingy about giving CHILDREN access to EDUCATION or stop whining about people seeking handouts (because they can't earn a livable wage due to their lack of education....)

  • kermit60 Mar 11, 12:28 p.m.

    Can't deny kids a program that doesn't exist. Shut the whole thing down. Make the manufacturers of these children start accepting the responsibilty for them. I'd like to see anywhere in the State Constitution that even mentions Pre-K.

  • krimson Mar 10, 12:25 a.m.

    There are multiple studies that suggest that Pre-K has lifelong benefits, if properly applied... Just as there are studies that show that proper parenting is most important in how well a child gets educated...

    Personally, I'd rather do something and try to help kids get a chance at growing up to be productive, instead of doing nothing and hoping that they do it themselves... So I support Pre-K being made available to any and all needy children in NC. I can't do anything about how well people parent their kids, but I can do something about their kids Education...

  • Terkel Mar 8, 9:17 p.m.

    Going by these rules, anyone can say their kid has ADHD and Ka-ching! Free day care! Hey, this is great! Next baby's gonna have ADHD too!