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President 'following the lead of states' on universal preschool funding, says College's early childhood experts

by Sharita Forrest / Jul 1, 2014

Early childhood experts Susan Fowler and Dawn Thomas spoke with the University of Illinois News Bureau about President Barack Obama’s federal budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015, which calls for $75 billion in the coming decade to fund universal preschool.

The initiative, which would provide early learning programs for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, also contains incentives for states to serve additional children from middle-class families.

“Early care and education for most low- to middle-income families is really a fragmented system with no continuity and no assurances of quality. It’s also a system that we’ve been striving to professionalize,” said Fowler. “The president is following the lead of the states, 40 of which have begun to develop and provide preschool services for 4-year-olds, and sometimes 3-year-olds, to promote school readiness.”

Discover more from Fowler and Thomas on the subjects of preschool services in Illinois and Head Start in this question-and-answer session with News Bureau education editor Sharita Forrest.

Fowler is a professor in the Department of Special Education, a former dean of the College, and associate editor of Early Childhood Research & Practice, an open-access journal. Thomas is the project coordinator of the Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative at the Children’s Research Center, home to many projects funded by outside grants and contracts, as well as the College-affiliated University Primary School.

Image from Wikimedia Commons