Monday, February 21, 2011

Online petition for Bright Beginnings

Will e-mails from around the country crank up pressure for Mecklenburg County commissioners to save Bright Beginnings prekindergarten seats next year?

Michelle O'Reilly of Charlotte hopes so. Early this morning, she created an online petition at asking people to lobby commissioners in favor of the spending plan proposed by Commissioner Vilma Leake. As you may recall, Superintendent Peter Gorman has proposed cutting just over $10 million from the Bright Beginnings budget, which would reduce participation by more than half next year, because of projected budget shortfalls. Leake has proposed a "grant" that would provide county money to cover that gap and specify that it must be used for pre-K.

Commissioner Bill James isn't impressed. He warned his colleagues to expect "e-mails by the bushel full" and put his own spin on things: "Why someone from Boulder, Co or some other place would know the details of BB’s failure I can’t say."

As of 2:30 p.m., the online petition had 17 signatures, including two from Charlotte and others from around the country, including Boulder.

If you're new to this issue, search this blog for previous, more detailed posts about the Bright Beginnings debate. And if you're trying to read the petition, here's a tech tip: I couldn't get to do much on Internet Explorer, but it responded well on Mozilla Firefox.


therestofthestory said...

Suppose we demand the BOCC spend $2 million to do an in depth audit of CMS expenditures, program effectiveness, relations of CMS workers to county employees and so on?

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiley Coyote said...

Corrected list of County Commissioners to contact for those who want Bright Beginnings DEFUNDED...

Do not let an online petition that any child of two could sign result in Vilma Leake and the rest of the BOCC spending millions on a program Dr. Gorman says doesn't work.

Send an email today!

Wiley Coyote said...


Since the Board of Education decided to shirk responsibilities they were elected to do and put the onus on you to decide whether Bright Beginnings should be cut or not, I hereby request no more funds be allocated to this program.

There has been no data since 2002 as to how BB has fared beyond the second grade. By all accounts, even from Dr. Gorman, there is no significant difference in students who attend a pre-K program v. those who do not by grade two. Similar programs across the country show the same thing.

Spending $11 million dollars on 3,200 students when PARENTS should be responsible for teaching their pre-K kids what the color red is and how to stand in a line is unconscionable.

CMS is facing a $100 million dollar shortfall, with about 600 teaching positions on the chopping block.

$11 million dollars could save 220 teaching positions and if the BOE would eliminate ALL sports programs, they could save an additional 90 teaching positions.

Thank you,

therestofthestory said...

Be very careful if want to start a precedent of the BOCC telling the BOE how to spend money. You may not like the outcome if the winds of change blow hard enogh.

ThaQueenCity said...

Thanks Wiley, used your exact wording too ;-)

Wiley Coyote said...


Some on the BOCC already want to give the BOE taxing authority so...

If that happens, we're toast.

therestofthestory said...

Yes Wiley I am aware of that. Luckily it will take the NC Legislature to make that happen. It will probably have to be a constitutional admendment because of how the law is written now. I am not so sure the Leandro decision will allow it because it would throw more financial responsibility on those counties that already won the argument they lacked the financial means to provide the "sound basic level of education" stated in the constitution.

Unknown said...

Why should Bill James care about what people from Boulder, CO say about Bright Beginnings? To quote a comment left on the Bright Beginnings petition, "I believe the evidence about the efficacy of early intervention is irrefutable. State boundaries are so permeable and job opportunities so limited that each and every child's individual path must be helped throughout the US if we as a nation are to flourish." We need to think big picture!

"Anyone looking for upstream solutions to the biggest problems facing America should look to Nobel Prize winning University of Chicago Economics Professor James Heckman's work to understand the great gains to be had by investing in early and equal development of human potential." Read more at

Consider the fact that by age three, children living in households struggling with poverty are exposed to 30 million fewer words than their peers who do not live in poverty. (Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of American Children.) Imagine these children starting Kindergarten. Imagine their disadvantage as they try to learn and keep up without the necessary background knowledge. Now picture a year of intentional, strategic, targeted literacy instruction aimed directly at giving them oral language, expressive and receptive vocabulary, book and print awareness, phonemic awareness and phonological awareness skills. These are prerequisites for reading fluency and comprehension. Add to that math, science, and social/emotional instruction and you will see how Bright Beginnings gives these members of society a fighting chance at academic success.

If you think Bright Beginnings is learning the color red and standing in line, you need to visit a school and talk with teachers and principals.