Preschool for all

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law today legislation that gives an opportunity for all 3 and 4 year olds to attend preschool in Illinois. In effect, it lets education funds that were previously only available for K-12 schooling (with the exception of at-risk, low income families -- who were eligible for preschool funds) are now available for middle-class families for 3 and 4 year old preschool.

from the Illinois press release:

Preschool for All will allow every community to offer high-quality preschool in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, child care centers, and licensed family child care homes, private preschools, park districts, faith-based organizations, and other community-based agencies. The program requires that preschools be staffed by experienced teachers who hold bachelor's degrees and specialized training in early education, and provide at least two and a half hours per day of high-quality programming designed to foster all of the skills -- social, emotional, physical, and cognitive -- that all young children need to achieve success in school and later in life.

(bold faith-based organizations mine)

Though on the application for funds, I found these two statements:

13. Applicants should be aware that grant awards may not be used to provide religious instruction, conduct worship services, or engage in any form of proselytization; assist, promote, or deter union organizing; finance, directly or indirectly, any activity designed to influence the outcome of an election for any public office; or impair existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.

14. No funds may be used to help support or sustain any institution controlled by any church or sectarian denomination (Article 10, Section 3 of the Illinois Constitution; Ill., Const. 1970, Art. X, Sec. 3).

It looks like the church-based preschools will have some problems being approved.

No comments: