SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – All students would be able to receive quality early childhood education under full-day kindergarten legislation that state Rep. Cyril Nichols, D-Chicago, helped pass this week.
“Pre-K and kindergarten are some of the most important formative years for kids. It’s when we lay the foundation for all the rest of their education to come,” Nichols said. “By the time kids enter first grade, it’s already apparent who has been given that foundation, and who hasn’t. So when we look ahead and ask why some students aren’t on the path to success, we need to recognize that it isn’t chance – it’s a choice. Instead, let’s choose to give every student the same opportunity during these formative years.”
Nichols shared impassioned comments on the House floor in support of House Bill 2396, helping to pass the legislation with bipartisan support. The bill sets every school district in Illinois on the path to offer full-day kindergarten in the next four years. Implementation will be overseen by a Full-Day Kindergarten Task Force.
The bill now awaits passage by the State Senate.
“We say we can only afford to invest halfway in the first years of our kids’ education, and in the next breath we wonder why so many trends are going the wrong way,” Nichols said. “We need to stop acting as though crime and other systemic problems are just manifesting out of thin air. There’s a connection there.”