Advocacy group presses for Ill. preschool funding
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Illinois lawmakers grappling with the state's budget mess must make funding preschool a priority because after a decade of gains enrollment has slipped 20,000 over the past four years, a children's advocacy group said Thursday in releasing its yearly progress report on the state's young people.
Punctuating the Kids Count report's pro-education theme, Voices for Illinois Children's president Gaylord Gieseke on Thursday also urged legislators to do what it takes to rid Illinois of a "very sobering" distinction — the nation's worst in state funding for public education.
"We feel we are at a crossroads. Budgets are about hard choices, and we challenge Illinois to do the right thing," Gieseke told The Associated Press, singling out increasing the ranks of early childhood education as "our highest priority."