Recent News

Advance Illinois Stands in Solidarity with the Black Community

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other Black people at the hands of law enforcement and vigilantes poured salt into a deep wound of racial injustice that has been centuries in the making. After many attempts throughout history by leaders and organizers to heal the wound, the pain and exhaustion have festered into public outrage across the nation.”

“Advance Illinois stands in solidarity with those who have raised their voices and peacefully taken to the streets to demand meaningful change. We also commit ourselves to working harder and in better partnership with civil rights, racial justice and community-based organizations to reimagine a public education system that is no longer business as usual. We must acknowledge the racism, missed opportunities and inequities of the past and focus on a future that is rooted in educational equity and opportunity.” 

“We all have our work cut out for us, and we must be up for the challenge – a challenge that includes making sure that this agonizing and further illumination of the deep, systemic racism at the root of so much that ails this country brings with it the seeds of change and progress. We owe it to this generation and those that follow to check – and use – our privilege, be a better ally and reaffirm the fact that Black lives matter.”

Robin Steans
President

From the Desk of Robin Steans – Education Must Remain a High Priority for Illinois – Early Childhood

This is the final installment of our three-part series that shares our views on the urgency of providing resources and ongoing support to early childhood education, K-12, and postsecondary. This is the early childhood installment.

From the Desk: Education Must Remain a High Priority for Illinois – Part 3: Early Childhood

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Consistent and compelling research has demonstrated the numerous academic and social emotional benefits that accrue when young children participate in high-quality early childhood education and care, such as child care and preschool. Moreover, quality programs enable parents to work and financially provide for their families. Despite its importance, Illinois’ early childhood education and care (ECEC) system is composed of a fragmented, complex array of programs and funding supported by multiple state and federal agencies. Many ECEC providers struggle to navigate this complexity while operating on razor-thin margins and struggling to pay staff living wages that support quality programs and outcomes. Parents across the state are challenged to find high-quality and affordable care while only one in four children enter school “kindergarten ready.” And, that was before COVID-19.

The current crisis highlights the fragility of our system. ECEC providers, many of whom are paid based upon attendance, are facing dramatic hits to revenue. Indeed, nearly 50% of Illinois child care programs are at risk of closing permanently without public support. While Illinois has continued to pay publicly funded providers despite diminished attendance, it is unclear how long the state can continue to cover these costs. State support also does not cover lost fees from tuition-paying parents. Although the last federal stimulus package included $3.5B for child care across the nation, sustaining the child care industry through closures could cost an estimated $9.6B a month. The roughly $118M Illinois received will not go far in this time of immediate crisis. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children are now unable to access care and support with unclear long-term impacts to their growth and development.

While the state deserves accolades for its crisis management, we must now focus on recovery and the opportunity to rebuild and strengthen our early childhood education and care system.

From Crisis to Recovery

As Illinois turns the corner from crisis to recovery and seeks to jumpstart the state’s economy, we must first ensure families have somewhere to place their children and their trust as they return to the workplace. To do this, we must keep in mind the following:

  • Families need to be confident that their children are in high-quality programs that will keep them healthy and safe. In a recent survey, 75 percent of families indicated concern about sending their children back to child care due to the threat of COVID-19. To minimize this threat, the state should extend some temporary requirements put in place during the crisis, such as reduced class sizes. However, other requirements relaxed during the crisis – such as decreased qualifications for teachers – must be resumed. Well-qualified teachers, adept at addressing children’s cognitive and social-emotional needs, will be vital to helping children transition back into care, enhance their learning, and navigate a strange world of social distancing in a developmentally appropriate way.
  • There is an immediate federal role to ensure providers have consistent and adequate funding to stay viable, shift their business models, and address children’s and families’ needs. As the state rethinks child care given social distancing guidelines, we must consider how those requirements will impact providers and families. Smaller class sizes, more frequent cleaning, and other provisions mount up to higher per-child costs – significantly higher than the state and most families are able to afford. Providers already operating on thin margins will not be able to keep their doors open without additional revenue. With the state facing dire budget challenges and many families at their limit, we risk parents being forced to quit jobs and providers closing permanently. The state needs significant additional flexible federal stimulus dollars to get families back to work and young children safely back to formal learning and care environments.
  • Even in these tight budget times, lawmakers in Springfield must prioritize ECEC and increase funding for the sector so that we can continue to provide critical services for our most under-resourced families. Current state funding for the Child Care Assistance Program, the Early Childhood Block Grant, Early Intervention, evidence-based home visiting, and other services provides critical programming to give children the best chance to succeed in school and in life. Likewise, our state’s ability to get economically back on track depends on the vitality of this sector. 

From Recovery to Rebuilding

We must also act on the opportunity to rebuild and strengthen our ECEC system for the long term. With the support of the Early Learning Council, the Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding Commission, and other stakeholders, state leaders have the chance to build an ecosystem of governance, infrastructure, and funding designed to equitably support all children and families with high-quality early childhood education and care. At this juncture, state leaders should keep in mind the following:

  • Now more than ever, Illinois needs a plan to adequately and equitably fund our ECEC system. Access to high-quality state-funded services should not depend upon where one lives or how much one’s family is able to pay. Yet, only about 50 percent of Illinois children under the age of five and 30 percent of infants and toddlers from low-income households are being served through state-funded ECEC programs with large variability across the state. Additionally, the cost of state-subsidized childcare currently depends not on parents’ ability to pay but the state agency that supports their children’s care. That is not an equitable system.

  • State funding to providers must be adequate and distributed in a way that incentivizes stable, quality environments. Unstable and varying funding structures coupled with payments based upon fluctuating attendance leave providers struggling to weather bumps under normal circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis could decimate a significant portion of the market. Illinois must prioritize paying providers in a timely, transparent, and predicable way to ensure a healthy system of providers that can plan for and deliver quality programs with well-qualified and well-compensated staff.

  • We must prioritize pathways to quality with the resources to get there. Early learning is only impactful if our programs are high quality, and high-quality programs are contingent on programs’ ability to pay a well-qualified workforce a worthy, livable wage. However, simply paying providers more will not instantly enable excellence. Thoughtfully planned phased-in funding coupled with technical assistance can scaffold programs’ ability to meet increasingly rigorous standards of quality.

  • We have an opportunity to better align the early childhood care and education infrastructure to more efficiently and effectively meet children’s and families’ needs. Currently, families, providers, and state agencies must cobble together programs and funding from various agencies to weave a system of comprehensive, quality family supports. During a pandemic or not, the children of Illinois will benefit from an aligned system under a more unified structure. Though managing the change to streamline early childhood programming will be no easy lift, the benefits will lead to better outcomes for everyone, especially our most vulnerable families.

COVID-19 has dealt a significant blow to our ECEC system. Unlike in K-12 and post-secondary, our youngest children are largely disconnected from their programs and supports. This will have long-term impacts on children, families, and programs. For our economy to recover and for our children to get back on track, let us pivot from this crisis to significantly resource, support, and rethink this ecosystem so that we come out stronger on the other side. 

Sincerely and in partnership,

Robin Steans
President

From the Desk of Robin Steans – Education Must Remain a High Priority for Illinois – Higher Education

This is the second in our three-part series that shares our views on the urgency of providing resources and ongoing support to early childhood education, K-12 and postsecondary. This is the postsecondary installment.

From the Desk: Education Must Remain a High Priority for Illinois – Part 2: Higher Education

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We know that a college degree —be it a technical certificate or an advanced degree—creates pathways to stable employment and wages in an increasingly competitive economy. COVID-19 jeopardizes that pathway for the nearly 750,000 students in Illinois’ higher education system. Absent clear leadership and support, COVID-19 may permanently cripple the institutions that serve our students from historically marginalized communities and negatively alter the life paths of countless Illinoisans. For our state to recover from this crisis, we will need a strong, inclusive workforce and economy. Key to that is education and training.

The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for students and institutions, including a sudden shift to remote learning, new barriers to accessing instruction and basic needs, and drastic new costs for colleges and universities. As with K-12, college students without access to devices or high-speed internet are losing ground. Even students with access to their online coursework are likely to learn less, struggle more in related future courses, and have a higher chance of dropping out due to loss of in-person instruction.

The impact goes beyond learning loss. As unemployment skyrockets and family earnings drop, the high cost of postsecondary education in Illinois will further deter college enrollment and completion. National surveys found that in April 2020, 27% of high school seniors were concerned that their first-choice school would no longer be affordable for their family. Students from lower-income households are facing more challenging financial circumstances as both their jobs and family resources are more likely to disappear, threatening with it housing security, food security, and other basic needs. Further, these circumstances will exacerbate mental health challenges and will almost certainly affect completion rates.

Unfortunately, Illinois’ postsecondary institutions have extremely limited resources to respond to increasing student need, as disproportionate cuts to higher education over the last two decades have left many institutions operating on minimal budgets. From 2000-2015, higher education in Illinois saw a 41% decrease in appropriations and an additional billion dollar cut during the 2015-17 budget impasse. These cuts have forced Illinois’ postsecondary institutions to rely more heavily on tuition and fees for funding. Declining enrollment has cut this revenue source as well. This dynamic has created the incentive for some Illinois institutions to recruit out-of-state students’ higher tuition dollars at the expense of access for Illinois students. As the pandemic continues, its impact on our state budget will require state leaders to make very difficult decisions, but not all institutions are guaranteed to survive another wave of additional cuts particularly those that serve more of our students from low-income households, students of color, and first-generation students.

Across the state, the pandemic poses more significant and disproportionate barriers to Black and Latinx students, students from lower-income households, undocumented students, and others who already face obstacles in their pursuit of postsecondary education. Without deliberate intervention, COVID-19 will have severely inequitable impacts on our students’ postsecondary access and completion and ultimately on wages, employment rates, and other life outcomes – and with these impacts our states’ workforce and tax base for years to come.

What can Illinois do?

As Illinois responds to the impact of COVID-19 on our postsecondary students and institutions, we should keep the following in mind:

  • Emergency grants will be more important than ever to the growing number of students and families facing financial instability. Financial instability will also increase the likelihood that unanticipated costs may impact a student’s ability to continue and complete their higher education. Emergency grants – which are typically small amounts of a few hundred to a thousand dollars – have helped dramatically increase completion rates in institutions across the nation. While some federal dollars have been dedicated to emergency grants for a restricted set of students, emergency funds should be accessible to all, regardless of citizenship status or other barriers.
  • Institutions that serve more students of color and students from low-income households also tend to have the fewest resources and state funding, when they need it the most.  As Governor Pritzker considers how to use his federal CARES education funds, and as the state looks ahead to future budgets, we are overdue to develop a strategy to ensure funding equity and adequacy in our postsecondary space, as we have done in K-12.
  • Current high school seniors entering college in the fall will need immediate action to ensure that processes are supportive. As current seniors enter college with varying levels of support from their final year of high school, we must ensure that all students have a smooth bridge to higher education– potentially involving targeted academic and social support. In addition, adopting a consistent, multi-measure placement framework for all institutions could help ensure that students are not penalized for academic disruption they could not control and are not inequitably placed into non-credit-bearing developmental education due to COVID-19.
  • More federal dollars are needed if we are to adequately support students and institutions. While the federal CARES Act provided ~$440M to Illinois higher education institutions, this is not enough. National leaders are calling on the federal government to provide $50 billion in additional post-secondary resources and further relief from federal loans.  We should all raise our voices in support of additional aid.

We applaud the leadership of Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, and Illinois Student Assistance Commission during this time of crisis. We also commend the hard work our college and university leaders, faculty, and staff are doing to support our students. We know that this moment calls for difficult decisions, and we appreciate the efforts made to date to ensure clarity, consistent guidance and an equity- and student- first position.

Our collective goal must be first to support our students – especially those most vulnerable to the emotional, academic and economic impact of this crisis.  From there, we should work to make our institutions and system stronger, more resilient, and more responsive to student needs.

Sincerely and in partnership,

Robin Steans
President

From the Desk of Robin Steans – Education Must Remain a High Priority for Illinois – K-12

This is the first in a three-part series that will share our views on the urgency of providing resources and ongoing support to early childhood education, K-12 and postsecondary. We begin with K-12.

From the Desk: Education Must Remain a High Priority for Illinois – Part 1: K-12

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As the world continues to take steps to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, and as business, schools, universities, and childcare centers remain physically closed, it is clear that the crisis will have a profound impact on the state’s infrastructure and budget. Last week, financial experts from the University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs published a report that projected the revenue impact to the State over the next four years to be in the range of $10 billion to $28 billion.   

We continue to applaud heroic efforts around the state to make sure children and families have the food, shelter, and care they need to be safe and healthy. This focus on meeting immediate needs is appropriate and ongoing. That said, it is vital that we not only meet immediate necessities, but plan now for how best to address what we know will be significant recovery and rebuilding needs.

While the C.A.R.E.S Act represents $2 trillion in federal aid, the reality is that we will face serious needs when the crisis passes. As members of the General Assembly organize themselves into working groups to manage the State’s budget in this deeply uncertain and fluid time, we believe there are some critical education issues that must be prioritized.

Let’s look at the current K-12 landscape.

No matter how hard we work now to make remote learning a success, it is inevitable that many, if not most students, will miss the opportunity to make expected learning gains. Indeed, one early analysis concludes:

“Preliminary COVID slide estimates suggest students will return in fall 2020 with roughly 70% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year. However, in mathematics, students are likely to show much smaller learning gains, returning with less than 50% of the learning gains and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would observe in normal conditions.”

Importantly, the impact of lost learning opportunities will almost certainly be felt inequitably around the state. Access to the basic technological infrastructure required for more engaging forms of remote learning varies by race, income, and region. Advance Illinois’ analysis of 2018 American Community Survey data shows that Black and Latinx K-12 aged children in Illinois are 2-3x more likely to lack access to internet and devices than White children. Children in rural Illinois are also less likely to have access to high-speed internet. This research is consistent with more than two-thirds of districts reporting to ISBE that they did not have all they needed to transition smoothly to remote or e-learning during this crisis.

Many students will also need additional emotional support as they recover from the trauma and dislocation of recent events. And, most likely, these needs will be felt disproportionately among students of color, rural students, and children from low-income families. Cases and deaths from COVID-19 are already disproportionately impacting communities of color, which will only exacerbate higher rates of traumatic Adverse Childhood Experiences that Black and Latinx children are likely to face during school closures.

Let’s look ahead…

Even as we work to meet student and staff social-emotional and academic needs through the end of the school year, we should organize ourselves to meet these needs once the immediate crisis has passed.  Roughly 1/3 of our students’ school year will be disrupted by COVID-19 closures. While there are few analogs to such a widespread and long lasting crisis, lessons learned from research and other disasters makes evident that recovery will take time and resources and that, absent coordinated and serious intervention, the impact of disruption may be long term.

For Illinois, this will likely involve adding time to the school day and year, ensuring enhanced social and emotional supports and/or staffing and perhaps both diagnostic and instructional strategies to help teachers and families understand and address the academic circumstances of their students. In addition, we should consider providing additional mentoring and support for new and veteran teachers alike. 

Designing, implementing, and affording such strategies will be a challenge. Ensuring essential recovery and rebuilding resources for all schools and students across 850 districts at a time when budgets at every level are battered will be near-impossible, absent careful thought and effort. Similar to how there has been a need for strong state leadership and coordination during this time of immediate crisis, we will need an equally strong state presence during this time of rebuilding and recovery.

Given this, here are some considerations we may all want to keep in mind as we look ahead to the recovery phase of this situation:

  • Take a long view. It will not be a simple or quick matter to address the social-emotional or academic fallout of this pandemic. As a state, we must come together to understand what students and school communities will need to get back on track and commit ourselves to meeting those needs over time. Critically, we should keep in mind that recovery and rebuilding cannot be done quickly or in a rush but may take years. We should prepare and execute long term strategies, not short-term fixes.
  • Recognize that this crisis both reveals and exacerbates deep and longstanding inequities. While all children and families are being profoundly affected by this crisis and by school closures, it is important to acknowledge that the impact will almost certainly have an inequitable impact. Everything from the availability of technology in different homes and districts to the ability of working parents to oversee home schooling and the level of additional resources available to address a wide range of needs will almost inevitably be impacted by race, disability status, and poverty. Accordingly, any recovery strategy must ensure that all students get the supplementary supports they need so that these disparities do not stand or widen. While we could let 850 individual districts chart their own path on this, there is clearly a role for the state to ensure our most impacted students receive the supports they so desperately need.
  • Use all available resources creatively and strategically to ensure an equitable, statewide recovery. While it is tempting to spend all available dollars in the here and now, the reality is that we have significant needs still to come and deeply uncertain financial circumstances ahead.  One way or another, we must commit to providing the recovery supports we know will be needed and do so equitably across the state. And, we may need to join forces with other states to push the federal government for additional resources to address what will be significant common needs across the country.
  • Prioritize putting another $350 million into the school funding formula as planned. We recognize this represents a significant challenge generally, let alone in the current economic climate. But there is quite literally no better way to ensure that badly needed dollars get to the districts with students who need help the most. Difficult as it may be, now is not the time to back away from investing in Evidence-Based Funding as planned.
  • Support educators as they adjust to new learning strategies and face an uncertain few years. The urgent need for well-trained, diverse educators, social workers, and counselors just got more intense. Our students are going to need this expertise to recover and rebuild. And, teachers will need additional mentoring and professional development to adjust effectively to remote learning that may become a more common element of schooling and to diagnose and address student academic and emotional needs that may vary greatly even within classrooms. This is especially true for the roughly 6,000 new teachers who will come into classrooms without myriad traditional elements of preparation, including student teaching experiences. Using state and/or flexible federal stimulus dollars to invest in some targeted strategies to provide relevant mentoring and training can help ensure students’ adult lives are not defined by this pandemic.

The educational recovery from COVID-19 will not be a sprint to a finish line. It will be a marathon: a relay marathon with multiple partners passing the baton to each other and leveraging every ounce of fortitude, creativity, and caring we can muster on behalf of our children. Their future – and more broadly our state’s future – depends on what we do now. Let’s get to work.

Sincerely and in partnership,

Robin Steans
President

Advance Illinois Statement on Governor Pritzker’s Extension of Stay-At-Home Order

CHICAGO, IL (March 31, 2020) Advance Illinois President Robin Steans released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s extension of the stay-at-home order for Illinois residents:

“In these unprecedented times, it is important that we have leadership that is strong, informed by reliable data and expertise, and puts the safety and wellness of the people first. We applaud Governor Pritzker’s leadership in the COVID-19 crisis and understand the need to extend Illinois’ stay-at-home order through April 30th.”

“Our hearts go out to the students, parents, and educators impacted by this difficult, but necessary decision. The learning continues, and we are confident that our state agencies, under the leadership of Dr. Carmen Ayala, Ginger Ostro and Secretary Grace Hou, will do everything in their power to work with school districts, programs and institutions to help them make the best of this very challenging moment.”

“We will do our part to advocate for the resources and support needed to recover from the learning loss and other challenges that will be felt across the state as a result of school campuses remaining closed.”

Robin Steans
President
Advance Illinois


About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois is an independent policy and advocacy organization working toward a health public education system that enables all students to achieve success in college, career and civic life. Since its founding in 2008, Advance Illinois has become a nationally recognized thought leader in education policy advocacy. To learn more visit advanceillinois.org.

Contact:
Roderick K. Hawkins, Communications Director
rhawkins@advanceillinois.org

José García, Communications Associate
jgarcia@advanceillinois.org

From the Desk of Robin Steans – We’re in this Together

We’re in this Together

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I never imagined there would be a time that I would be reaching out to you in the midst of a global health crisis that has closed the doors of schools around our nation and across Illinois. However, this is the world we are in today. All of us at Advance Illinois want to express our admiration and appreciation for the families, caregivers and educators across our state who are managing through these challenging times. We learn a great deal about ourselves and others in times of difficulty and stress, and it is inspiring to see so many people come together to do right by children and families. For inspiring stories and examples of measures being taken at the local level, follow the #ILSchoolsStepUp hashtag. It is a wonderful positive antidote to the circumstances we find ourselves in and a reminder of the power of community.

As COVID-19 forces educators and administrators to repurpose learning across all sectors, we want to applaud the swift and nimble response of the Pritzker Administration, State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala, Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou and school administrators, teachers and staff from early learning centers on up through the higher education system. We appreciate their dedication to keeping learning environments as intact as possible, even remotely. And, we are grateful for those who are ensuring that our students are kept safe, fed and stimulated and that parents remain connected to teachers and providers. 

Our team is in touch with national colleagues to understand how other states are responding to the crisis and to see if there are common needs that might benefit from a coordinated “ask” to the federal government. 

We are in touch with philanthropic partners who arecoming together to raise and pool funds and find ways to put those resources to work to support local needs. 

Most importantly, we are committed to staying in close contact with you: education stakeholders and leaders across the state to understand issues and opportunities and to identify ways in which we can help. 

The days ahead will be difficult and will test our collective resolve, but we are in this together. Advance Illinois will do our part to share information and resources to you, our partners and colleagues, as we navigate this crisis. Thank you all for everything you are doing for our students during this challenging and unprecedented time. We salute you.

Sincerely and in partnership,

Robin Steans
President

Advance Illinois Responds to Governor Pritzker’s Proposed FY21 Budget

CHICAGO, IL (February 19, 2020) Advance Illinois President Robin Steans released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s proposed FY21 budget: 

“The State of Illinois faces real and serious financial challenges, that much is clear and known.  That said, we are deeply disappointed that, in his FY21 budget proposal, Governor Pritzker has chosen to invest in the children of Illinois based on the hope that a fair tax amendment will pass in November. This two-tiered budget—with some dollars immediately available and authorized, and some dollars held in reserve pending passage of a constitutional amendment enabling a progressive income tax—is a significant blow to our children and the adults who are committed to shaping their futures.”

“In his proposed budget, the governor has allocated $200M for Evidence-Based Funding, with an additional $150M held in reserve.  This raises two very serious alarms.  First, and most importantly, the state has made a clear and statutory commitment to invest no less than $350 million in the K-12 system each year for ten years.  As proposed, this budget runs the real risk of turning its back on that commitment and the children who depend on it.” 

“Secondly, and practically speaking, the budget, as proposed, means that school districts around the state must and will plan around the assured $200M increase, depriving students in already underfunded districts of additional programming and supports enabled by the $150M reserve.  This same planning and budgeting challenge will play out in child care centers, preschools, community colleges and universities.”

“In a world where the current Minimum Funding Level won’t get us to full funding in the promised ten-year timeframe, and where we want schools to put new dollars to work for children as quickly and effectively as possible, the FY21 investment strategy is devastating.” 

“We urge Governor Pritzker and the members of the General Assembly to seriously reconsider the budget as presented and find ways to invest in the future of Illinois with resources that are available now.  Our schools need the full $350 million that has been promised, even as we work to assure a stronger fiscal base to permit even greater investments going forward.  Childcare centers, schools, colleges and universities need both adequate funding and predictability throughout the academic year to provide for the diverse needs of students across the state. They cannot build budgets based on hopes and assumptions. Our children’s futures require dependable and steady investments, and they count on us to keep our promises.”

Robin Steans
President
Advance Illinois

Advance Illinois Congratulates Ginger Ostro on Appointment as Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education

CHICAGO, IL (January 8, 2020) “All of us at Advance Illinois congratulate our former colleague and friend Ginger Ostro on her appointment as the next Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). Ginger led Advance Illinois during a critical time in our growth and was on the front lines of the coalition that fought for and won a more fair and equitable school funding model for our state.”

“Ginger is an outstanding leader who is passionate about education and public service. She is an experienced and smart choice for this role. We wish her and the IBHE board and staff success as they work to ensure that our public and private colleges and universities have the resources and support they need to prepare our students for success in the workforce and in civic life.”

Robin Steans
President
Advance Illinois

About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois is an independent policy and advocacy organization working toward a health public education system that enables all students to achieve success in college, career and civic life. Since its founding in 2008, Advance Illinois has become a nationally recognized thought leader in education policy advocacy. To learn more visit advanceillinois.org

Contact:
Roderick Hawkins, Communications Director
rhawkins@advanceillinois.org

Ammanuel M. Ayalew, Communications Associate
aayalew@advanceillinois.org

Click here to read the announcement of the governor’s announcement of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding.

Advance Illinois Statement on Governor Pritzker’s Announcement of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding

CHICAGO, IL (December 16, 2019) Advance Illinois President Robin Steans released the following statement on today’s announcement of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding:

“For decades, Governor Pritzker has been a champion for early childhood education. We are pleased that he has made this a priority for his administration and applaud today’s announcement of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding.

“We are also pleased that the Governor announced a 15% Child Care Assistance Program rate increase for centers in rural counties and an across the board 5% increase statewide for centers and homes starting January 1st. These are important step towards ensuring all Illinois children have access to affordable and high quality early childhood programs and services.

“Right now, there are communities across our state that are in ‘deserts’ where there are scarce, if any, early childhood programs or services. Our children deserve better. 

“It is our hope that this commission will provide the data, research and recommendations needed to give all Illinois families access to early childhood services. Advance Illinois is pleased to have been invited to serve on the commission and we look forward to this partnership that will have long term benefits for the state.”  

Robin Steans
President 
Advance Illinois

About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois is an independent policy and advocacy organization working toward a health public education system that enables all students to achieve success in college, career and civic life. Since its founding in 2008, Advance Illinois has become a nationally recognized thought leader in education policy advocacy. To learn more visit advanceillinois.org.

Contact:
Roderick Hawkins, Communications Director
rhawkins@advanceillinois.org

Ammanuel M. Ayalew, Communications Associate
aayalew@advanceillinois.org

Click here to read the announcement of the governor’s announcement of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding.

Advance Illinois Responds to the Illinois State Board of Education 2019 Illinois Report Card

CHICAGO, IL (October 30, 2019) Advance Illinois President Robin Steans released the following statement about the Illinois State Board of Education 2019 Illinois Report Card

“The 2019 Illinois Report Card takes a major step forward by providing more data and transparency on how schools are funded and how students are performing. By shining a light on new data, including site-based expenditures, student groups, and Civil Rights Data Collection, the Illinois State Board of Education empowers people to have more informed conversations about the public education system generally, and with an equity lens.” 

“Upon preliminary review of the report card, we applaud the progress that has been made in some areas of student achievement, but there is still significant work to be done, and major inequities remain. We look forward to using the data provided in the report card to inform conversations with policy makers and education champions across the state.”

Robin Steans
President 
Advance Illinois

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About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois is an independent policy and advocacy organization working toward a health public education system that enables all students to achieve success in college, career and civic life. Since its founding in 2008, Advance Illinois has become a nationally recognized thought leader in education policy advocacy. To learn more visit advanceillinois.org.