NC Senate Dismantles Smart Start

Statement on the Senate HHS Budget Proposal by Dr. Olson Huff, Board Chair of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.

 “I fear for the well-being of the children of our state. In one fell swoop, the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee announced a plan to destroy years of early childhood progress that has raised third grade outcomes and given thousands of children an opportunity to succeed.  

In an elaborate shell game that claims savings without really doing so, the committee effectively killed the state’s nationally recognized early childhood system, Smart Start.

Abolishing Smart Start is the wrong direction to go on education. You can’t get older children to perform in school by taking resources from younger children — at the very time that their brains are being hard-wired to learn. 

Earlier this year a Duke University study showed that all North Carolina third-graders have higher standardized reading and math scores and lower special education placement rates in counties that received more funding for Smart Start when those children were younger. What’s more, they found that Smart Start raises the academic achievement of all children in a community, whether they were in child care or not.

The Senate’s proposal to rob the state of this vital program is poor education policy and poor economic policy. This is hardly a growth strategy for our state.  The state’s youngest children are taking the hardest hit.”



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15 responses to “NC Senate Dismantles Smart Start

  1. Caitlyn

    I for one am really upset with their decision because My daughter is going to be 2 years old in August and She has help from the Smart Start Program and I have to say she is a very intelligent little girl. I think that the state needs to stop making excuses as to why they want to get rid of the help that we have for our children. It helps them how is that a bad thing? If you ask me I think the state has alot of issues that they need to work on…like finding some other committee to replace that one because whoever it is obviously is not using their brain. This really upsets me.

    • Leslie Roberts

      This is upsetting to me as well. I work in child care and it is not an easy job however it is very rewarding and if it were not for agencies like smart start manyof the child in need of quality care would not recieve it. Our government needs to think about what is really important, our children and their education.

  2. Nicole

    This news breaks my heart and scares me to death. As a mom, I know how much my child benefits from the various Smart Start funded programs in our commuity. As a Smart Start direct service provider, my job is now in the Senate’s hands- those who pledged to support & create jobs are now destroying some of the most valuable ones by taking away Smart Start. Please reconsider and put your focus back where it needs to be- on early childhood!

  3. Mildred S. Turner

    As an employee of Smart Start I cannot believe what is happening. I have seen for 9 years the results of children involved in the program. They are happier, more well adjusted and learn more easily than children I know that do not participate. I do hope that come election time again the voters in NC will remember what this Senate is doing and vote them out. My wish is that they are all one termers and if they have not completely destroyed NC, maybe it can be built back. The Senate had rather see us on the unemployment line than to see us making a real difference in the lives of the young children in NC. Someone needs to stand up for THEM.

  4. Val Wilson

    As a provider of Parent as Teachers services, funded by Smart Start for many years, I’ve had the privilege of watching parents learn about child development and the activities they can do at home to help their children be ready for public school. I’ve helped parents learn how important it is to talk with their young children about colors, shapes, numbers, and letters and read books together to help their children be ready for public school. Parents are eager for their children to be successful in school and want the information they need about what they as parents can do at home to help their children be ready for public school.

  5. Leslie Roberts

    Budget cuts here budget cuts there, when will this all stop. The education of our children should be first and foremost. If Smart Start and other agencies that provide services for our children are done away with what happens to those children? They are left out and may never recieve the help that they need to become productive adults, therefore, we will be paying for their checks. Instead of taking away from the children, use that blessed lottery money that everyone just had to have, “THE EDUCATIONAL LOTTERY” should be used for agencies that provide aid to children, not just so this school can have a pretty new cafteria. I am so sick of our government, they do not have a clue as to what it takes to not only raise a child but to educate one, they need to spend a day in the life of a parent that is struggling to work and find quality care for their child, it is not easy. Not everyone was raise with a silver spoon in their mouths. There are families that depend on Smart Start and other agencies to help them make a betterlife for their children, take this away and you are playing with fire. And another thing, not only are the children going to suffer but how about that unemployment rate, it will go up, up and up, because you have taken jobs.

  6. doris

    This is just an example of how unqualified the people in our government making these decisions are. There are so many other programs that need or should be cut…before this one is…Vote the Democrat Governor OUT, and the other liberals with her…

  7. Vicki

    Thank you, Republicans! Once again, the education system for our children is the target of their “savings”…….

  8. Mary Woods

    This is another example of our government at work. Our children have to suffer every time the government needs to save money. Our children need smartstart. It’s an agency that help’s all types of children. I am Teacher that works in daycares like smartstart, the children benefit so much from smartstart. They get help they need before starting school, so that they are not left behind.The senate should not loose focus on what is important to our future’ The children are.

  9. paula

    Um… didn’t anyone notice that this is still just proposed and not, in fact, an approved budget bill?
    Shame on this website, which should be informative – not inflammatory!- for this terribly misleading headline and story.
    It’s not that I don’t support Smart Start or early childhood education (since that’s where my degree and career are, too), but I find it disturbing that a story such as this has been put out and passed around.
    Stick with the facts, folks.
    If you want to inform people of the *proposed* budget, and ask them to contact their Senate representatives, that’s great! However, deliberately misleading concerned citizens just stirs up tempers and emotions when the cause would be better served by cool heads and coherent conversation with all concerned.

    • Wendy


      This was, first of all, an opinion piece/statement – not a news story. It was clearly stated at the top of the page, “Statement on the Senate HHS Budget Proposal” . Key words here being ‘statement’ and ‘proposal’. It’s the kind of half-reading and irrational response you just displayed that is likely the cause of some of the poor decisions coming from our government right now.

  10. David

    Despite the accuracy of much of your statement, you conveniently ignored the fact that what was really clearly stated in a large font at the top of the page was the following:

    “NC Senate Dismantles Smart Start”

    A misleading headline to be sure based on the language that you quoted. First of all, it sounds like an accomplished fact. Secondly, the NC Senate didn’t do anything — a Senate committee did. Someone needs to be more careful and less provocative and dramatic with their headlines.

  11. I am the Parents As Teachers Coordinator in Cherokee County Murphy, NC. The education we provide to the families we serve is priceless, the screenings are necessary for recognizing delays in a timely manner. Catching these delays early on and referring for appropriate services only alleviates the gap to ensure children are reaching public school READY TO LEARN! Not, hello I am here yet, I am already behind! This would be a disservice to the child and teacher! I think the real problem is our leaders do not know enough about our programs simply because they have failed to investigate knowledge of them. Also, just the support component of early intervention programs like Parents As Teachers- being accessible in the home and on the phone is key. No other programs are comparable in this aspect. High risk families can recieve weekly home visits from their Parent Educator and the minimum for a low risk family is monthly home visits. This is why the program is so successful we are present in the families lives! Parents As Teachers also offers support groups for families which allows for interactions with other parents and children. There is always an educational component yet, it is FUN! How can we get our leaders on board?- Will they allow us to prove the programs necessary? Lack of knowledge is any man’s ignorance- I just hope they have sought the answers they needed before making decisions so important to America’s Future!

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