Among the multitude of victims of the ongoing budget crisis are pre-kindergarten classes. Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed FY 2011 budget would slice Illinois' early childhood education block grant by 16 percent -- this following a 10 percent cut in FY 2010.
Interestingly, educators and parents have gained a key ally in their fight to protect these crucial and cost-effective programs: law enforcement officials. The Fight Crime, Invest In Illinois coalition
-- which includes Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart and other officials
from across the state -- has released a new report criticizing the cuts, which could eliminate classes for 23,000 children.
According to their estimates, which are based on research conducted in Michigan and Illinois, the state corrections system would save about $350 million in
if it maintained its strong investment in early learning. "We can
either invest in preschool classrooms now and prevent crime," says
Mundelein Police Chief Raymond Rose, "or wind up spending more on
prison cells and cleaning up after tragedies." You can find the whole report here.