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Funding to help create more Chicago education jobs

Posted on January 8, 2015

Over $600 million in funding from the Dept. of Health and Human Services has been awarded to create more Chicago education jobs and early childhood programming.

Following the implementation of full-day kindergarten last school year and leveraging the federal government’s guaranteed funding over the next five years, Mayor Emanuel and the City will triple the number of full-day pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs – from 100 today to 300 – by 2019. This expansion will bring full-day programs to 4,000 additional children at CPS.

In addition to increasing access to programs, the Administration has improved the quality of its early education programs. In August 2012, the City conducted a “Race to the Top” for any and all providers of early childhood education. For the first time, all schools and community-based organizations — public, nonprofit, for-profit, faith-based and charter — were invited to apply.

To ensure high-quality programming through this local re-competition of early education funds, top early learning programs were given additional dollars to expand their services while 28 substandard early learning programs were eliminated. For the first time, the City also required that all early education instructors across the system have a bachelor’s degree.

“If we want young people to succeed, we need to continue to invest in proven strategies like quality early learning,” said Ric Estrada, CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, which opened the Learning and Wellness Center in February 2014 in collaboration with the Mayor’s office, CPS and local leaders.

“The single most important investment we can make in the future of Chicago is in the children of Chicago and their education,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Every child in every neighborhood deserves access to a quality education that begins in their earliest years. By starting early, we will open up more doors of opportunity for more children to succeed at every level from cradle to a great career.”