Early childhood education in Illinois is getting more than $50 million from the federal Race to the Top program. An additional $17.6 million was announced today (Friday), on top of $34 million announced last year. “We still are in a place where preschool is optional,” says Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education.
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“What you're seeing is more and more people are taking advantage of the preschool to get their students up and ready to hit the door running when they’re in kindergarten.” The money will create quality ratings as a resource for parents, strengthen training and support for early childhood education professionals, and try to bring programs in line with state standards.