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Paper Dolls Descend on State Capitol

Picture taken at Love's Learning Center in Dallas, NC
Picture taken at Love's Learning Center in Dallas, NC
May 31, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - It isn't every day that life-sized paper dolls greet North Carolina lawmakers - but that's what's happening today at the State Capitol.

The display, made up of hundreds of child-size paper cutouts created by children from early-childhood education centers around the state, is organized by the advocacy group MomsRising, to illustrate the importance of restoring and maintaining early-childhood education funding. Beth Messersmith is the group's North Carolina campaign director.

"These are real children; these are not facts and figures. These are real children whose futures depend upon the decisions that they make. Unlike the paper dolls, our children are not two-dimensional; they need well-rounded, quality care."

Last year, lawmakers trimmed more than $37 million from Smart Start and $32 million from More at Four, now know as "N-C Pre-K." Messersmith says she hopes the life-sized cutouts of children will remind lawmakers of the impact of last year's budget.

"These are the programs that are going to make a difference in whether our children start school prepared, whether or not they graduate and are prepared to enter the workforce. We need our legislators to think about the future, not just think about short-term impacts."

The state House Appropriations Committee is considering a proposed budget that includes $15 million in additional funding for NC Pre-K, as well as $1 million for an early literacy pilot program that would be managed by the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton is to speak at today's event, to be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Capitol's Children's Garden.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC