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Recent early education news and updates

In the News

State looks to meet demand for early educators with specialized training


October 22, 2015
Workforce
Kalyn Belsha
Catalyst Chicago

In recent years, early education in Illinois has become more exacting, with a more highly trained workforce.

In 2013, the state won a four-year, $52.5 million grant through the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge that helped usher in new early learning standards that align with the more challenging K-12 Common Core State Standards and a new rating system that helps parents evaluate preschool quality.

Early childhood educators are being encouraged to obtain standardized credentials that show they’ve mastered important skills, and colleges and universities are increasingly recognizing their credentials — helping early educators move up the higher-education ladder more quickly.

And last year, Illinois won a federal preschool expansion grant — worth $20 million in the first year, with the potential for three more years at that level if the state comes through with its $128 million pledge. The state says this program would extend early childhood education to just under an additional 14,000 preschoolers.