I don’t usually pay attention to what is happening outside Champaign. However, I have subscribed to “Voices for Illinois Children”, and today’s topic was about Gov. Quinn’s State of the State speech. Below I quote a small snippet relevant to Education:
In the last five years, we’ve been getting the job done on education reform. Parents are now empowered with a report card on their children’s schools. Teacher evaluations have strong benchmarks. And performance is prioritized over tenure. In fact, our reforms have become a model for the nation.
Governor’s Birth to Five Initiative
But our unfinished job on education starts where it matters most: in early childhood.
Study after study has shown that high-quality early childhood education provides the best return of any public investment we can makemore than $7 for every dollar invested. That’s why our state invests in programs serving our at-risk children, from birth all the way to kindergarten.
Since I’ve taken office, I’ve always fought to preserve early childhood education from radical budget cuts. And we found a way to invest $45 million to build early education centers in high-need areas such as Dolton, Kankakee, and Cicero.
Voices4Kids advocate and Huffington Post writer Emily Miller points out that since 2009, the early childhood block grant has seen a reduction of about $80 million. Not exactly encouraging news. While the proposed 2014 budget retains the 2013 levels for the early childhood block grant, the fiscal future of our state is extremely bleak.
I have asked some follow-up questions of Voices4Kids and Ms. Miller – I hope to circle back here and update you with what I learn.