Kids deserve education protection

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. sees it, North Carolina has the “constitutional duty to afford every child a good, basic education.”

To that end, he ruled that the state cannot limit enrollment in a pre-kindergarten program for at-risk children.

The issue came before Manning after the General Assembly passed the state budget which cut funding for More At Four by 20 percent and set limits on the number of spots for at-risk youngsters, according to The Associated Press. The Legislature also moved the new N.C. Pre-Kindergarten program from the Department of Public Instruction into the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the duty of the State of North Carolina to protect each and every one of these at-risk and defenseless children, and to provide them their lawful opportunity, through a quality pre-kindergarten program” guaranteed by the state constitution, Manning wrote.

“So many of North Carolina’s at-risk children from low-income families start kindergarten already behind, and their chances of finding a good job or a successful career are tied directly to their educational opportunities,” wrote Gov. Beverly Perdue in a news release.

According to the Education and Law Project at the North Carolina Justice Center, the “prekindergarten services have been acclaimed nationally and have provided significant educational returns according to regular evaluations.”

We applaud Judge Manning for taking a stand in defense of those who have the most to lose, their future.