By The Associated Press

Ill. gets $35M grant for early childhood education

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois will get nearly $35 million if federal aid for early childhood education.

The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant will fund a website to inform parents about school-program quality and help communities find programs that match children's needs.

It will fund professional development for early-childhood teachers, will allow the state to make one-time investments in efficiency, assist streamlining of program administration and data systems. It'll also pay for program evaluation to determine effectiveness.

The Illinois grant from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services is one of 14 provided to states for helping children considered a risk for academic failure.

State schools Superintendent Christopher Koch says the money will help improve the state's infrastructure and program efficiency.

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