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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

early childhood education

December 15, 2014

Hellen Juarez was excited when she heard Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announce that the city would introduce universal preschool.

“Universal means there will be open slots for those who need it,” said Juarez, a single mother of three whose youngest, a 3-year-old, is not yet in school.

But that isn’t how things have turned out. Emanuel’s plan adds only about 1,500 seats, for low-income families only. Juarez’s local Chicago Public Schools program has a three-month wait to get in, and it provides only two and a half hours of instruction a day.

December 10, 2014

Recognizing Illinois’ existing work in early childhood education, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that the state will receive an additional $20 million in annual federal funding to further expand preschool services for 4-year-olds.

November 25, 2014

Children who attend a full day of preschool have better attendance, are less likely to be chronically absent and demonstrate more gains in social-emotional development and physical health than those who only attend part-day preschool, according to a new study on Chicago's child-parent centers.

November 03, 2014

Board of Education member Henry Bienen took an unusual step at last month’s meeting: He voted against a plan that came down from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

Bienen, a former president Northwestern University, said he was “very uneasy” with a proposal to borrow nearly $17 million from investors in a so-called “social impact bond” (SIB) to pay for a four-year preschool expansion.

October 20, 2014

Unlike any Chicago mayor before him, Rahm Emanuel has made the expansion of quality early childhood education programs a focal point of his agenda.

October 16, 2014

As part of an ambitious application for up to $80 million in new federal preschool expansion money, the State of Illinois says it can commit to increasing its own spending on early childhood education programs by $250 million annually by 2020.

October 07, 2014

A group of investors is betting $17 million that getting more of Chicago’s children into quality early learning programs will generate bigger savings in the long term.

The investors will make a loan to the city so that 2,600 additional children can take part in half-day pre-school programs in the distirct's much-lauded child-parent centers over the next four years, city officials announced Tuesday.

September 09, 2014

As New York City rolls out an ambitious plan to offer free full-day prekindergarten for tens of thousands of 4-year-olds this fall, community activists and union members in Chicago say it’s time for universal early childhood education and child care in the Windy City.

August 20, 2014

The Illinois State Board of Education voted on Wednesday to delay a requirement for preschool teachers to obtain additional qualifications to teach children who don’t speak English.

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