Monthly Archives: May 2010

Governor Perdue to Fight for Smart Start Funding, Calling It “The Best Investment We Can Make”

Governor Beverly Perdue vowed to fight for Smart Start funding at the nonprofit’s Leadership Symposium held yesterday at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Perdue pledged her support to an audience of more than 150Smart Start leaders at the organization’s professional development event, which took place just miles from where House members were deciding how much to fund the early education initiative. A longtime champion of Smart Start, Perdue, said that investments in early education benefit all North Carolinians and that supporters should call their legislators.

“I believe that Smart Start is an important investment because it is an investment in our future. You have to do right by starting early,” Perdue said. “I will stand with you and fight for Smart Start.”

Smart Start, North Carolina’s early education initiative, began under Governor Jim Hunt 16 years ago and has grown to become a nationally-recognized, model program. For nearly a decade, the state has reduced its allocation to the nonprofit, resulting in fewer services that improve the state’s early childhood system and that provide support for families with young children.

While scientists and economists agree that investments in children’s early growth and development offer the best return on the dollar, early education receives far less funding than K-12 and higher education. North Carolina per capita spending for early education is $641 compared to $4,889 for K-12 and $6,549 for higher education.

With a $10 million cut to Smart Start proposed by the Senate and the House budget still in the works, Governor Perdue urged Smart Start supporters to contact legislators and let them know that investments in early education matter to voters and should matter to every citizen.

“You understand that all of us, not some of us, all of us have a stake in the future of a child,” Perdue said. “This isn’t just doing good, it’s doing right.”

We’ll be posting the Governor’s speech to YouTube shortly.

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Filed under budget, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized

Need to Call NC House NOW!

The House HHS Appropriations Committee is meeting behind closed doors as we write. They must hear from you now! Let them know that you will hold them accountable for their support (or lack there of) of early childhood education. Investments in young children are investments in our future.

The House Education Committee met earlier and reduced the cut for More at Four from $10 million to $7.5 million AND stopped the TANF swap. The Senate budget swapped state funds for one-time federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) funds. That means that NC will continue to invest in high quality preschool. The House must do the same for all children 0 to 5–reduce the cut to Smart Start and stop the swap of state funds for one-time federal funds for the Division of Child Development.

Online list of members of the NC House HHS Appropriations Subcommittee.

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NC Smart Start Partnership to Testify at Senate Hearing on Re-Authorization of No Child Left Behind

The Down East Partnership for Children has been touted as a model of early care and education and invited to testify at a Senate hearing on the Re-Authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act this week. Henrietta Zalkind, DEPC’s Executive Director, will provide the testimony on Tuesday, May 25 at 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C. The testimony will help members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) learn of innovative and new ways to strengthen the No Child Left Behind Act’s investment in early care and education.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the work of the Down East Partnership for Children in the national spotlight while also helping impact the future of this important legislation,” said Zalkind. “We are excited the committee is focusing on efforts to enhance high quality early education and care and are seeking input for creative approaches that have been proven to work.”

The Down East Partnership for Children has been recognized, locally, state-wide and nationally for its’ model of services for children 0-8 in. Having made a measurable impact locally, Zalkind, will discuss the importance of providing support for each child and family, high quality early care and education environment and the need for access to coordinated community resources.

The DEPC is a non-profit organization and was founded in 1993 after receiving its initial funding from North Carolina Smart Start. To date, the DEPC has been successful in generating additional funding sources by national foundations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Ms. Zalkind’s testimony can be heard live at www.help.senate.gov. DEPC will host a listening party at 2pm on Tuesday 5/25 at the Partnership. For more information, please contact Ian Glancy, Communications Coordinator at iglancy@depc.org or call 252-985-4300 ext. 239.

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NC House To Hold Public Hearing on Senate Budget

Monday, May 24, 2010 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Now is the time to let state policymakers know that they need to Hold the Line and protect and preserve North Carolina’s nationally recognized early childhood education system.

We need a strong showing of support. Hard economic times make it even more essential to invest in young children. Today’s children are our future leaders, parents and workers. Our state’s prosperity depends on on the investments we make now. The message supports what 800 parents, business leaders, elected officials, health care providers, early childhood professionals and others from across the state had to say when they came together this year to speak to the importance of investing in our youngest citizens. All agreed that ensuring access to high quality early childhood care and education programs needed to be a top priority for the state. It is vital during a public debate that you stand up and speak on the need to preserve North Carolina’s early childhood system and future prosperity.

There are two actions that you need to take.

1) Attend either the event in Raleigh or one of the video sites.
Both the live and video events will be held on Monday, May 24, 2010 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Make sure that you have found at least one person to speak on early childhood issues at each location. Don’t forget to wear your Smart Start t-shirts and download a sign to bring. These signs made a huge impact last year–make them visible!

Live Location: McKimmon Center on the campus of North Carolina State University

Video Locations: Bladen Community College (Dublin), Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte), and Southwestern Community College (Sylva)

Visit www.nccommunitycolleges.edu/colleges_map.aspx for contact information and driving directions to each campus.

Guidelines for speakers are available online.

2) Submit written comments.
Email: Town.Hall@ncleg.net (Until midnight, May 25, 2010.)
Mail: House Appropriations Committee, Suite 401, LOB, 300 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 (Postmarked by May 25, 2010)

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Governor Jim Hunt & American Idol Finalist Anoop Desai Release Joint Video Message

Getting out the vote is not all that former Governor Jim Hunt and 2009 American Idol finalist Anoop Desai have in common. The two came together to record a video message asking legislators to “Hold the Line” on investments in young children. The video is part of the “Hold the Line” for NC Children Virtual Advocacy Day on May 18 organized by Smart Start. The video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/ncsmartstart.

Smart Start is calling on North Carolinians to take to their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and blogs, and post messages asking legislators to “Hold the Line” and continue to invest in programs for young children. The message supports what 800 parents, business leaders, elected officials, health care providers, early childhood professionals and others from across the state had to say when they came together this year to speak to the importance of investing in our youngest citizens. All agreed that ensuring access to high quality early childhood care and education programs needed to be a top priority for the state. Other nonprofits that serve children and families are joining in as well, including Prevent Child Abuse NC and Action for Children.

Governor Jim Hunt served a record four terms as Governor of North Carolina (1977-1985, 1993-2001). He created the nation’s first statewide early childhood system, Smart Start. It is now a nationally recognized, award-winning initiative that other states look to as a model.

Anoop Desai was a finalist on the eighth season of American Idol. He recently released his first independent album, All is Fair. Desai was raised in Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Governor Hunt and Desai recorded their message at the Learning Together Child Care Center in Raleigh. In it, they say, “Today’s children are our future leaders. When we invest in them, we invest in our state.” They call on North Carolinians to use their voices to speak on behalf of our youngest citizens and invest in early childhood education.

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Filed under budget, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized

Smart Start President Asks Legislators to “Hold the Line”

Stephanie Fanjul, President of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., the nonprofit that leads Smart Start, recorded this “Hold the Line” video with her adorable granddaughter Adelaide.

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Let your legislators know why you think they should keep funding programs for young children by sharing your own video on May 18 for “Hold the Line” Virtual Advocacy Day. Here’s a sample script to get you started. For more “Hold the Line” videos, go to www.youtube.com/ncsmartstart.

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North Carolinians Tell Legislators to “Hold the Line”

Wow! The “Hold the Line” videos have started coming in. Listen to this one from Chatham County, then get your video camera, make your own, and email them to us to post. Let your legislators know why you think they should keep funding early education initiatives. Here’s a sample script to get you started. For more “Hold the Line” videos, go to www.youtube.com/ncsmartstart.

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Filed under budget, Child Care, Early Childhood, Uncategorized