The governor wants to increase services for children younger than school age, and their mothers – but that’ll cost money. Gov. Pat Quinn said in his State of the State speech that Illinois does well with early childhood education, but not well enough. “Our state actually leads the nation in the number of 3-year-olds attending pre-school. But the status quo is not enough. It’s not even close. The reality is more than a third of our youngest and most vulnerable children don’t have the opportunity to attend early learning programs,” he said.
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The governor wants those kids to have that opportunity, and for at-risk mothers to get pre-natal care, which he says will save taxpayers money in the long run. The governor did not name a price for his proposal, but the state Board of Education wants $25 million more for early childhood education. Quinn also mentioned that the state has spent $45 million building early childhood center in places of need, including Cicero, Dolton and Kankakee.