Advocates respond to NC Supreme Court Ruling
Action for Children North Carolina’s President & CEO Deborah Bryan issued the following statement in response to the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision which leaves Leandro and Hoke intact, but rejects lower-court rulings requiring NC Pre-K to accept all at-risk 4-year-olds who apply for the program:
Today’s Court decision fails to remove North Carolina’s imperative to expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities for vulnerable children.
North Carolina can either invest early in children so they can become productive, contributing citizens, or spend a lifetime catching up–at a much higher cost. All children need high-quality early learning opportunities to form a strong foundation for success in school and in life. Yet, poor children are less likely to be enrolled in preschool than their peers. Preschool can be the deciding factor between a child who enters kindergarten ready to learn, or lags behind his or her peers.
Ensuring a more prosperous tomorrow starts with growing skilled workers today. Data show 30 percent of our youngest children are growing up in poverty, leaving their futures on the line. Unless we change course, North Carolina is on track to produce just 10 percent of the workers we need to remain economically competitive at home and abroad. It is essential that our legislators prioritize preschool investments to counteract the effects of poverty and put our children on the path toward becoming contributing, successful citizens.