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Morning Roundup: North Carolina no longer Pre-K leader, report says

North Carolina has slipped from its position as a national pre-kindergarten leader and appears headed for further decline, says the leader of a national research institute.

The state’s pre-kindergarten program for at-risk 4-year-olds once was one of only six state programs nationwide that met all the institute’s standards for quality. But enrollment and state spending on N.C. Pre-K have dropped, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Institute for Early Education Research. Read more here.

In other headlines:

--Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign Monday began morphing into less of a pursuit of the presidency and more into an effort to shape the Republican platform and to influence the discussion in the fall elections. More here.

--In today's Dome, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers gets the big treament from Politco and The Washington Post continues to rank North Carolina as the state most likely to see a partisan change in the governor's mansion. Apparenlty the D.C. punditry doesn't have any faith in the Democratic candidates.

--Former N.C. Sen. Robert Pittenger Monday defended himself from criticisms that he used political influence to benefit from land deals. Critics have accused the Charlotte Republican, who served from 2003-2008, of using his influence in making potentially lucrative deals. He’s now one of 10 Republicans running in the 9th Congressional. More from Jim Morril here.

--On today's editorial page, Siobhan Millen, a non-practicing lawyer and a mom, is the chief judge in her precinct in Raleigh, gives a voter primer.


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