In May 2006 Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, signed the first law in the nation that aims to provide the opportunity for universal access to pre-kindergarten education for all 3 and 4-year olds as part of a"Preschool for All" initiative. The law is based on recommendations in a Spring 2006 report released by the Illinois Early Learning Council.
Overfour years beginning in 2002, the state increased preschool funding by$90 million. This new law sets aside an additional $45 million in the 2007 budget to open up 10,000 new slots. Priority will be given to children with language barriers, developmental disabilities, and middle-income earning families that make less than four times the poverty rate. At full implementation, Preschool for All would serve an estimated 190,000 children whose parents choose to participate.
Preschoolhas been shown to increase students’ performance in high school, increase test scores, decrease the likelihood of being arrested for a violent offense as a juvenile, and decrease the likelihood that a child will experience abuse and/or neglect.
- Full Text of the Preschool for All initiative (SB 1497) – enacted May 2006
- Starting at 3 – tracking initiatives that secure pre-school education.
- National Association of Elementary School Principles (NAESP) has a section on Illinois