Kids Need Support to Reach Potential
It’s disturbing to think that our legislators would consider eliminating Moore at Four and/or Smart Start.
We are beyond needing to prove that high-quality preschool programs are effective. We have known for decades that the early years are critical foundational learning years. The Federal Reserve Bank’s research shows that every $1 we spend in early childhood saves anywhere from $3-$17 on remedial intervention services later. Results of a study by UNC-Chapel Hill last year that said economically disadvantaged children enrolled in More at Four programs had higher scores on third-grade reading and math tests than similar students who were not enrolled in the state’s preschools.
Rather than cut or eliminate programs, we should be figuring out what we need to do so that all of North Carolina’s children have access to high-quality preschool programs. Not only is it the prudent thing to do, it’s the ethical thing to do. For years, our local Moore at Four and Smart Start preschool programs had more children qualified to enroll than they have had slots for.
Former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt created Smart Start, an organization that has a proven track record of effectiveness and accountability. The Smart Start network of 77 local partnerships serving all 100 North Carolina counties serves as the model for our nation. Why would we consider eliminating it?
It would be devastating to our community if we were to lose either More at Four or Smart Start. We need to make early learning a priority. Children operate independently of the financial situation of the state. In good times and in bad, children have physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive developmental needs. Children need all of us, working together, to ensure that they reach their full potential.
SCC Early Childhood Program Coordinator
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