Gov. Bruce Rauner is repeating his message for lawmakers: Pass a no-strings-attached education-funding bill.


After touring the Lincoln Land Community College Early Childhood Development Center with her husband, first lady Diana Rauner said Illinois is a leader in early childhood education and she’s “very proud of the work that our state has done and excited to do lots more here to make sure every child enters kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life.”


The governor agreed and said the state should do more.


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Rauner called on lawmakers to act on funding education with an emphasis on early childhood education. The governor said the General Assembly has a couple of weeks to pass a standalone measure to fund K-12 education without getting bogged down in partisan battles.


Meanwhile, the governor said he wants to ensure children in Illinois grow up to have the skills needed for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.


ReadyNation, a national group of business leaders, last month said Illinois is not properly preparing its children for jobs in so-called STEM fields. Rauner said that should be an alarm for lawmakers.


“The economy of the future, the economy of the next 20, 30, 50 years plus is going to be based in technology, based in innovation, based in science and math and engineering,” he said. “That’s where the significant growth is going to occur. That’s where the significant opportunities are going to occur.”


Rauner said it’s important to ensure children from all backgrounds get quality early education, something he said would help children, and the state, thrive.


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