A proposal in the Illinois legislature would require school districts to have at least one school with all-day kindergarten.
But no money means it could be quite some time before the measure gains any traction.
Advocates, like John Cusick of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, say kids with more early education gain several advantages later in life – like earning more money and being less likely to be a teen parent.
CUSICK: “No doubt society benefits and the individuals involved in early childhood education benefit from everything we can put into it. It pays off in the kids’ lives, it pays off in the long-term for society.”
Cusick backs a proposal before the Illinois House that would require every district in Illinois to offer all-day kindergarten.
The teachers’ union says most already do – but there are about 80 districts where it’s not offered.
He admits those schools probably don’t have all-day kindergarten because they don’t have the money.
Chicago Public Schools say its all-day program, scheduled to start in the fall, will cost $15 million alone.
The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside), says he plans to spend the rest of this year working on a funding source.
He says a few ideas are in the works, but also says “it’s too early to share them.”