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Will preschool budget cuts damage a generation?

Three days before the end of pre-school, Ms. Sabrena and the children sit around the table playing Bingo on boards the size of placemats. Nawal only needs one more tile to win, the Huffington Post reports. Tiny and delicate, with dark, serious eyes, she has quietly assembled a dangerous arsenal. Ms. Sabrena notices and raises an eyebrow. “You have to watch out for the quiet ones,” she says. But a few moments later, when Nawal’s number comes up, Nawal won’t say the one word her teacher wants to hear. Ms. Sabrena encourages her: “What do you say?” Nawal places her tile on the board, looks straight ahead and says nothing. Ms. Sabrena—Sabrena Robinson to those over three feet tall—works at a childcare center in Raleigh, North Carolina, a state with one of the most acclaimed child care systems in the country. From the outside, the center looks like nothing special: a low, cinder-block building with a big backyard. What’s unusual is Ms. Sabrena’s classroom. Of the 100 or so children enrolled at the school, 18 of them—those in Ms. Sabrena’s care—are part of something called North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten, a free state program designed to ensure that every child in the state is ready for kindergarten by the age of five…

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