Pre-k does focus on quality

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As advocates for early childhood education and care throughout Illinois, we were glad to see David Kirp’s interview by Cindy Richards in the November 2007 Q&A column. We agree with David Kirp that low-quality early childhood programs are not the best use of scarce resources. We wish to address the mischaracterization of Illinois’ early childhood education policies as “promoting quantity over quality.”

Our organizations are dedicated to promoting quality early education that will prepare all children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. With the passage of Preschool for All, Illinois leads the nation in its commitment to provide evidence-based early childhood learning opportunities to our children. Preschool for All requires parent involvement, research-based program models that employ certified and competent educators and includes rigorous evaluation to ensure that public dollars are effectively spent.

As Preschool for All enters the third year of a five-year roll out, we continue to advocate for increased funding, awareness and accessibility so that our state can meet the need for quality early childhood education for all children.

Harriet Meyer, president

Ounce of Prevention Fund

Jerry Stermer, president

Voices for Illinois Children

Maria Whelan, president and CEO

Action for Children

Editor’s note: The introduction to the interview should have made clear that the characterization of Illinois programs was Kirp’s, not that of Catalyst Chicago.