State Judge Orders Pre-Kindergarten Services Restored

A North Carolina judge says the General Assembly's budget cuts and changes to a pre-kindergarten program cheat poor children out of educational opportunities and should be stopped.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. issued an order Monday that throws into question part of the nearly $20 billion state budget taking effect next week. The judge says lawmakers cannot limit the number of at-risk four-year-olds participating in the program that was known for years as More At Four.

The spending plan cuts the pre-kindergarten program's funding by 20 percent.

It's not clear whether the judge's order will force the Legislature to rewrite the budget. Manning says only that he's confident the state will live up to its constitutional duties to give every child the chance for a good, basic education.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Heather on Jul 21, 2011 at 07:35 PM
    I just read that in martin county nc almost everyone has to pay for pre-k. Is that everywhere in NC?
  • by Anonymous on Jul 19, 2011 at 06:50 PM
    Honestly, we don't CARE what parents call us, teacher or babysitter. We do what we do (TEACH) for the children.
  • by US-First Location: Greenville on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM
    All of you are missing the point! The legislature did not cut the program, they reduced its funding. Just like everything else currently we have to do more with less. This judge has thrown down a challenge because he is obviously a liberal judge that basically his power from the bench is greater than the legislators power to balance the budget. It is very simple to look at one program and rule it can't be reduced in funding without having any responsibility for the rest of the state budget. Its a morons position. Now the conservative legislators have two choices 1) increase the budget by the 20% amount that was going to be cut and cut some other program by more or 2) cut the program 100% out of existence thus rendering the judges basis for ruling non-existent. Then they can draft a proposal for the next session for a similar program with funding in the acceptable limit.
  • by Teacher Location: Nc on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM
    In my Child's 4 years of life, I have paid over 30,000 dollars in daycare.! And you can only take off 2,000 dollars at tax time! Per year! I had my child tested for pre- k and they told me she was ready for 1st grade! So, needless to say, she will not be allowed to be in a pre k class. But the difference is, I work with my child! I am a teacher myself and see this everyday; 95 percent of those kids in pre.k are simply there as a baby-sitting service! Makes me sick! No matter what suggestions the excellent pre-k teachers give to these parents to try to make these kids' schooling "work", the parents I have seen just don't Care! So, no matter how much money they throw into pre- k services, it is not gonna make any difference if these parents don't care! Speaking as a teacher, and as a parent, teachers can not do it all!
  • by Teacher on Jul 19, 2011 at 07:43 AM
    Here's the thing a lot of people don't understand. Private pre-k programs, like Kindercare, church pre-k programs and other daycares that provide pre-k services, don't have to hire teachers with degrees or teaching licenses. In the More at Four program, all the teachers have Bachelor's degree, if not higher. They are all certified to teach the age group they serve, including children with special needs. Everyone who complains about pre-k not being effective needs to find out more about the More at Four program, because it is very different from a typical pre-k program that a family could pay for. More at Four serves children at-risk for school failure and those with special needs, like delays, Autism, etc. Having highly trained teachers is the key to a successful pre-k program.
  • by Anonymous Location: NC on Jul 19, 2011 at 06:28 AM
    in my opinion yes. It is the way things work if you can't afford something you don't get it. I don't pay for day care or preschool, my children don't go.
  • by Ryan on Jul 19, 2011 at 01:16 AM
    Not all pre-k programs are for the poor. My son was in Pre-K two years ago because my wife and I were both working (on base, and she is a teacher.) Our son was not able to stay at the daycare all day because of his age and the cost. Pre-K was absolutely terrific for him. He did have homework and projects, and we made absolutely sure they got done. I would get off early and go to his school and read to them, and participate in school functions when I could. Now my wife homeschools and he is much further ahead that most kids his age in reading and writing. Pre-K is beneficial across the board. The issue with the poor kids is the family. Alot of them do not care about their children's education on the whole. Send the kid to school so I can sit at home and do nothing, or go out and have fun with my friends. But some actually do care and Pre-K is the only place for them to go so the parents can actually work. Daycare is expensive and if there is a chance that a kid who is in Pre-K grows up poor yet is an upstanding citizen, then I am willing to pay taxes and provide the service. I don't agree with paying for parents who aren't willing to take responsibility for their kids, or their own lives.
  • by heather Location: NC on Jul 18, 2011 at 07:00 PM
    Agreed, It is not the teachers fault the do try. The parents of these kids have no intrest is their childs schooling. One question I have is why is it for the poor kids. i have kids and we make good money, but to make good money you have to work long hours for it. So it is not like we have the time for it. Pre -k should be done with unless the parents pay for it.
    • reply
      by right... on Jul 18, 2011 at 08:25 PM in reply to heather
      so only the people who have good money--their children should be the only ones who receive this advantage? it should be open to everyone. people who make good money have an option, its called day care and pre school. you DO pay for it, an arm and a leg ive noticed.
    • reply
      by Advocate on Jul 18, 2011 at 09:05 PM in reply to heather
      MAF serves the MOST neediest children. Although you may work and find it hard to find time to teach your child things, I'm sure you TALK to you child, provide them with educational things, like books and nutritional food. The pre-k program helps the children who need it the absolute most. The children from poverty stricken homes are the most at-risk.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 18, 2011 at 06:24 PM
    well, let's let Mr. Judge pay for all the expenses of keeping this program going... otherwise CUT IT OUT ! It's just another government paid for waste of tax payer money. Just because we've had these services before are no reason to continue them.
  • by Typical on Jul 18, 2011 at 05:20 PM
    Judge Manning only rules how the N&O editorial page wants him to rule. That way he will be popular amongst the Raleigh cocktail party set. Truth is there is NO state constitutional authority to teach kids at any certain age. The teaching must just be equal. I mean, can I sue the State because I was denied a class and teaching when I was 3 and 4 years old? Get my drift. Nobody got taught at 3 and 4 then. Now he sees a "right" to be put in school at 3 and 4! What a joke!
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