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The Forum Advocates for Early Childhood Education and Bilingual Educators

Throughout the years the Forum has helped ensure continued funding for early childhood education. The Forum remains dedicated to understanding how additional resources for bilingual education can result in a quality education for English Learners in Illinois schools. Recently, the Forum staff provided budget testimony to the Illinois State Board of Education, as the upcoming funding cycle approaches, to address these concerns.

The Forum's education team urged ISBE to strongly consider recommendations to fix and foster a more productive approach to early childhood education for English Learners and to address the shortage in bilingual educators. In the Forum’s testimony, an increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) for the upcoming fiscal year was requested. This would build on a $50 million increase from last year. 

In addition, the Forum asked ISBE for a portion of the ECBG be used to build the infrastructure needed to ensure quality in early childhood settings. This would provide funds for facilities to upgrade space, build strong and responsive models to cultivate a future pipeline of professionals, include a smoother kindergarten transition and alignment, and other learning resources critical to long-term growth and investments. By doing this, the state of Illinois is committing to investments that will ensure linguistic and cultural needs of young learners are met.     

For additional information on the Early Childhood Block Grant, please contact Erika Mendez at emendez@latinopolicyforum.org.