Today, Gov. Bev Perdue instructed the state agency in charge of North Carolina’s pre-kindergarten program to preserve the high standards, quality and accessibility of this crucial academic program for at-risk children.
The General Assembly’s budget made significant changes to NC Pre-K (formerly known as More at Four). Changes include a 20 percent cut in funding that reduces the availability of the program to at-risk children, a parent co-pay that could charge families up to ten percent of their income, and the transfer of the program from the Department of Public Instruction to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Today marks an important day for early education in North Carolina,” said Dr. Olson Huff, Board Chair of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. ”Thanks to Governor Perdue’s actions, that state’s youngest children can continue to benefit from early learning programs that we know improve academic performance.”
“Her decision is backed by years of research that shows learning begins at birth, well before children enter Kindergarten at age 5,” continues Huff. “It is further supported by studies proving that the state’s early learning programs, Smart Start and what was formerly More at Four, are moving education in the right direction, improving our children’s reading and math scores in elementary school.”
“We thank Governor Perdue for taking a strong stand today to ensure a brighter future for our youngest children, especially at-risk children,” says Huff. “Her actions will strengthen the entire education system, benefitting children, schools, and the future of North Carolina as a whole.”