Mecklenburg County is expanding pre-K to get 4-year-olds ready for kindergarten – but what about getting younger children ready for pre-K? A national program that’s moving into Charlotte does just that. 

Phil Roeder / Flickr/

It may seem early, but families who plan to enroll children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools next year should start planning now.

That's especially true for parents who want their kids to get seats in the most competitive magnet schools. Students need to be pre-registered to enter the 2020-21 choice lottery, which begins Nov. 4. 

A teacher at the Howard Levine Child Development Center helps students make sound shakers.
Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

A Charlotte study that came out last year identified access to quality pre-kindergarten education as a key factor in making sure that children who are born into poverty have a chance of rising out of it in their lifetimes.

Lisa Worf

This story is part of the NPR reporting project "School Money," a nationwide collaboration between NPR's Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

Governor Pat McCrory wants North Carolina to increase its spending on substance use disorders, Medicaid and prekindergarten. Those are among the budget priorities McCrory laid out in Raleigh on Monday.

NC Supreme Court Dismisses Case Over Pre-K Restrictions

Nov 8, 2013
scales of justice

The North Carolina Supreme Court Friday dismissed a case involving restrictions on the state’s pre-kindergarten programs. 

An attorney for five school districts who challenged the restrictions, Melanie Dubis, says the ruling was expected.

Lisa Miller

Former Democratic Congressman and state schools superintendent Bob Etheridge is traveling the state with the group Progress North Carolina to speak out against several education bills before state lawmakers.

In Charlotte Thursday, he criticized a bill that would end the policy of limiting kindergarten through third grade classes to 24 students.  He also said cutting the income eligibility for the state’s pre-kindergarten program would hurt many kid’s chances of graduating. 

Some child advocates are unhappy with Governor Bev Perdue’s decision to add thousands of pre-kindergarten slots because it’s at the expense of other programs that impact children like foster care.  It also transfers money from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

A couple weeks ago, Perdue announced the state was restoring some of the cuts to its pre-kindergarten program.  She planned to shuffle money around to add an extra 6,300 spots.  Groups that work with children applauded the move.