Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has formed a new commission to study the state's early childhood education system in an effort to make Illinois “the best state in the nation" for raising young children.
The 29-member panel is comprised of state legislators, the state superintendent of education, advocates, providers and school officials.
Pritzker recently announced the new group at a news conference at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning on Chicago's Southwest Side. The commission will recommend better ways the state can use its early childhood services fund.
“All the best research shows that focusing dollars on our youngest children is one of the most fiscally responsible investments that we can make,” Pritzker said. “Nowhere is this more true than with the families who have historically been left out and left behind."
Pritzker said the group has one goal: “Illinois will become the best state in the nation for families raising young children,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The group will have four co-chairs. State Sen. Andy Manar, who helped develop the state’s new evidence-based school funding formula, will join former state House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie as co-chairs. Former state board of education chairman and now deputy governor Jesse Ruiz and George Davis, the longtime leader of the Rockford Human Services Department, will also co-chair the group.
The governor also announced that he's increasing reimbursement rates for childcare centers and home-based providers to lure and retain childcare providers. Pritzker also increased state funding for training programs by $3 million.