Judge orders pre-kindergarten services restored

By EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- 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 that took effect this month. 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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I think people fail to realize why this country has fallen behind in technological and intellectual leadership: our education is severely lacking. Students need to be educated earlier, stay in school longer throughout the year, and, most of all, have a learning atmosphere at home. Without these things in place, the US will continue its downward trend in global leadership. Unfortunately, we are an "instant gratification" society, and neglect to put measures in place to achieve long term goals. Bolstering early childhood education only serves to help us achieve the long term goal of again becoming a financially, technologically, and intellectually superior nation.

because there are no good parenting skills going on in the home. There are too many video games, cell phones for little kids, computers so they can be on facebook or whatever they like. Take the goodies away and make kids study the old fashioned way, that's why they graduate high school and are still dumb as a post.

This country is not running out of engineers and scientists because of lack if pre-K programs. We went to the moon using people who started their education in first grade, occasionally kindergarten. We're running out of critical skills because too many college students pick bone-headed majors or a major with a limited number of opportunities.

An entry level electrical engineer can start at $50k almost anywhere. Unfortunately, we have to bring in EE's on H1B visas from India and Pakistan because we can't find them in the United States.

Oh, but you have no trouble finding a psych major, or a soliology major, or a "communications" major......which means that restaurants and mall retailers will never run out of help.

I just had to educate the individual above regarding his insulting comments. I'm a psychology major, with no advanced degree, making well over $100,000 annually working in my field. I obviously pay my fair share of taxes. I am grateful that I received a great educaton in the US school sysrem, and I fully support the pre K programs. They provide a chance for many children to catch up before starting kindergarden. We need more education and opportunities in this country, not less. Stop being selfish and try to have some understanding for what others less fortunate endure. We all want the best for our kids, no matter what our income, background or education.

The big shortfall of North Carolina, as well as the United States, have been fixed and with NO tax increases.
1. Cut out a "free" programs, no more free housing, no more free food, no more free medical care, NO MORE FREE ANYTHING. Everyone must work, period. Let the daddies pay for their kids, not everyone else, not a single penny should go to low life, able bodied, good for nothing, live off working people, freeloaders.
2. All illegals must leave the country, how you saw, find anyone working one and lock them up at once for 10 days, no trial, just 10 days, (like if you hit your wife, just longer. Find anyone renting to them and take their property, period, just like a drug dealer. No work, no home, GO HOME.
3. Everyone in jail must work 40 hours a week doing something, cleaning ditches, picking up trash, growing food for themselves, cleaning schools, all those on death row, well do it to them why feed someone who needs to die?
See problem is now fixed.

There should be no school until the child is 6 years old. Pre-school and kindergarten is nothing but baby sitting at taxpayer expense.

Let me tell you something, this program does work and is not just a baby sitter as you say. My son who is almost 5 has speech problems and was barely talking when he started the Pre K Program in Pender Co. and because of the care and effort these teachers put into the children after 1 year he can hold a conversation with us now. My son was able to attend the speech theropy twice a week and he is a totally different kid and I mean for the better.

It's a luxury we cannot afford. Arrange babysitting for your own kids and don't expect the taxpayers to take care of it for you.

THE NC constitution guarantees a free public education. You said there is no constitutional right to pre-K. You are correct, but there is also no explicit right to kindergarten, or 12th grade for that matter. The constitution doesn't specify what this guaranteed education consists of. That's up to the NC Board of Education to determine, and in this case, a judge thinks that the cutting of pre-k funding will deprive some children of this constitutional right to an education(a Republican judge no less).

When I was a kid, there was no kindergarten. So when they added kindergaretn to the public schools, was that constitutional? Same thing goes with 12th grade - when my grandparents came along, they graduated after the 11th grade. The point is, that the standards of education have changed over the years, as our world has evolved and advanced. Some children need early education to be at the level the public schools expect of their kindergarteners.

I will paraphrase things you have said in the past. The pre-k program complies with the law. If you don't like it, change the law. Otherwise, leave them alone.

As you just stated, there is no definitive explanation in law of what constitutes a proper education. So there is no need to change a law that does not exist.

The Pre-K program obviously complies with this one judge's opinion of what should be, and nothing more.

Trust me, it will be ignored and if he presses the issue it will be appealed, where he will be overturned....and don't EVER think that there is a shortage of liberal, spread-the-wealth Republicans. We have one who is in the lead for the presidential nominee.

How is education a luxury?? Let me, let you in on a little secret, not every parent that has looked into this program wants it because they see it as a "free babysitter". My child actually wants to go to school to learn and meet new people and why shouldnt we let them?? Why make budget cuts to programs that could help children??

Children who attend Head Start are no further ahead of children who did not attend Head Start by the second year of elementary school. I can recall NPR mentioning that the report stated that Head Start was most effective as an inner-city employment program for teachers' assistants that had only GEDs.

As a taxpayer with children I think the pre-k program is a great program, espically for lower income families who cant afford private preschool. Second not all parents look at it as a daycare, my child actually wamts to go play and meet other children and learn, programs like this do help some of us,so get off your high horse.

Good I really hope they can figure something out! How is it fair to let one child who has parents that dont work, go to school free, but children who do have working parents that just scrape by, no you cant go unless your willing to pay a fee, You cant do for one child what your not willing to do for another, just not fair! Hard to tell your child that wants to really go to school that they cant because you cant afford to pay the fees. I think education is one of them things the govt needs to just leave alone!

Sounds like the mother missed english classes during her schooling.

Wow, does it make you feel better about yourself to pick on someone for thier english?? Maybe its why they wannt thier child to start school so early, give them a chance to have what they didnt. No need to be a jerk to someone.

Agreed. I think people fail to realize why this country has fallen behind in technological and intellectual leadership: our education is severely lacking. Students need to be educated earlier, stay in school longer throughout the year, and, most of all, have a learning atmosphere at home. Without these things in place, the US will continue its downward trend in global leadership. Unfortunately, we are an "instant gratification" society, and neglect to put measures in place to achieve long term goals. Bolstering early childhood education only serves to help us achieve the long term goal of again becoming a financially, technologically, and intellectually superior nation.