NC JUSTICE NEWS: Privatizing Pre-K + Immigration Hearing + College Affordability

March 27, 2012

PRIVATIZING PRE-K: Rural areas would lose access to program

Public schools play a highly important role in offering rural and high-poverty communities access to North Carolina’s critical Pre-K programs.

Recent considerations by the NC General Assembly’s House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement to explore privatizing North Carolina’s Pre-K program could severely limit access to the program in rural, high-poverty areas.

A new report by the NC Budget & Tax Center found that 58 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties rely on public schools to host and manage more than half of their Pre-K slots. Just six of these counties are not rural, and 17 of these counties are rural, high-poverty, and rely exclusively on public schools to house their Pre-K program slots.

Such counties don’t have an extensive network of high-quality, private child care programs. In turn, public schools play a huge part in providing infrastructure for Pre-K classrooms. Prohibiting public schools from managing and hosting slots would have a disproportionately high impact on these rural communities by both limiting access and negatively affecting children’s education in the short and long terms.

IMMIGRATION: Press conference to address proposed laws

On Wednesday, March 28, the House Select Committee on the State’s Role on Immigration Policy will meet at the General Assembly to discuss how to strengthen and enforce laws against undocumented immigrants. Many of these laws would mirror anti-immigration legislation from Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. In February, the committee meeting ended with three undocumented protesters being arrested, and in one case, detained for several weeks.

We are NC, an alliance of organizations and individuals working to shift this very debate on immigration in North Carolina, will hold a press conference on March 28 to highlight the positive impacts of immigrants in our state. Immigrants, faith leaders and economic analysts will share their stories, real facts on this issue, and look at the negative consequences of anti-immigrant legislation in states across the southern United States. Economies in places such as Georgia and Alabama have deteriorated, farmers and workers are losing their livelihoods as food lies rotting in the fields, and citizens and immigrants alike have been arrested in the name of the law.

We are NC urges to legislators to implement policies that unite North Carolinians and recognize the positive social, cultural, and economic contributions that immigrants and refugees make in communities across the state.

The press conference will be held on Wednesday, March 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Halifax Mall, behind the General Assembly in downtown Raleigh.


The Justice Center presents its Defender of Justice Awards to honor individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions in the fight against poverty in four areas that reflect the scope of the Justice Center’s work.

The event will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2012 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Bay 7 in the American Tobacco Campus, Durham. Recipients will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Purchase your ticket today.

"OUT OF CONTROL" TOUR: Public forum in Wilmington

The General Assembly’s “midnight attack” on North Carolina’s teachers in January revealed a remarkable willingness to ram through an extreme agenda, no matter what it takes.

Please join N.C. Policy Watch and key progressive allies at a series of public forums that will explore: how North Carolina's extreme right-wing General Assembly is turning back the clock, who's bankrolling its agenda, and what it means for our lives. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and share your perspective, too.

  • Wilmington: Wed., March 28, 7:00 p.m., ILA 1426 Hall, 1305 S. 5th Ave. Featured speakers: Rob Schofield, Chris Kromm, MaryBe McMillan, Nancy Shakir. Register here.

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY: Panel to address access, budget

Despite its long history of generous support for higher education, North Carolina has not successfully kept pace with the rapidly increasing cost of attending college for its students. As costs rise and aid tightens, North Carolina risks losing the dynamic and creative economy that its higher education system has supported for decades.

On Wednesday, April 4th, the NC Justice Center, Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at NC Central University, and the national public policy organization Demos will co-host a panel, “Shrinking Budgets, Growing Debt: Is College Still Affordable?” This expert discussion of North Carolina’s higher education will address trends in funding for our state’s universities and how these trends create challenges in accessing a post-secondary education. The panelists will discuss “The Great Cost Shift,” a new report that addresses how students across the U.S. are increasingly shouldering the cost for attending public colleges and universities. How will this cost shift impact their economic futures?

The event will be held at North Carolina Central University’s Alfonso Elder Student Union at 7:30 p.m. on April 4, and will feature the following speakers: Alexandra Forter Sirota (NC Justice Center), Dr. Jarvis Hall (NC Central University), Jasmine Hicks (Young Invincibles), and John Quinterno (Demos). The panelists will discuss policy recommendations to promote fair and open access to the benefits and higher education and assess how students, lawmakers, and advocates can work together to promote and ensure opportunity for all.


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