An early childhood education group is calling attention to Illinois’ weakness here. The National Institute for Early Education Research says pre-kindergarten in the state is suffering even more than K-12 and higher education. Steve Barnett, director of the institute, says preschool has received a greater decline in funding that elementary and secondary schools.

“Illinois ranks poorly when it comes to putting the state resources behind the programs that are necessary to ensure quality,” Barnett said.

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According to the State of Preschool 2012 yearbook, Illinois spends $3,841 per child. When adjusted for inflation the state spent $5,020 per child in 2001-2002.

“The decreased enrollment is a direct result of inadequate enrollment,” Barnett said.

The Illinois State Board of Education says the governor has budgeted $300 million for Pre-K for FY 14.

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