If you want to see want kind of mayhem an activist judge can cause on a state, all you have to do is look at North Carolina. Judge Howard Manning Jr. ruled from on high, that citizens of North Carolina must provide all “at risk” four year old children a basic education.
However, that kind of ruling has caused mass confusion among legislators and educators; especially in a depressed economy where revenues are hard to come by:
DHHS recently began collecting data to implement their interpretation of Manning’s decision. In an email sent to NC Pre-K administrators, Jani Kozlowski of DHHS’s Division of Child Development states her agency’s interpretation of the ruling. “The court order has been interpreted to direct the state of North Carolina to view all at-risk 4-year old children as having a constitutional right to pre-kindergarten services, without identified barriers such as waiting lists or parental fees,” the email said. The email goes on to request administrators participate in a survey to help DHHS assess how to implement their understanding of the mandate. The Division of Child Development did not respond to requests for comment.
All of the uncertainty in Raleigh has trickled down across the state and has hit the front lines of the Pre-K program: childcare providers. Providers like Kevin Campbell from Mecklenburg County are unsure of how to proceed under the circumstances. “People don’t know what to do. People don’t know whether to follow the legislature or the court ruling,” Campbell told Civitas analysts. Campbell expressed concern over not knowing whether to implement the 20 percent cap on non-income “at-risk” children and was unsure of whether or not to collect the recently installed 10 percent co-pay for children who do not qualify for income-related “at-risk” status. Campbell said he will wait to collect the co-pay when there is a clearer directive from state authorities
The state of North Carolina can’t afford judges like Howard Manning Jr.