Most Illinois school districts have all-day kindergarten classes. A proposal before the Illinois House would require all districts to have such programs. But funding issues are getting in the way. The Illinois Federation of Teachers says nearly 90-percent of school districts have all-day kindergarten but that leaves 80 districts without. Representative Chris Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, says improving early education means students would be better-prepared for secondary education.
"It's difficult to raise test scores when you're focusing on getting kids up to the basics. When you're getting kids at high school level reading at third, fourth, fifth grade level, the problem's not at the high school. The problem's in the early years," says Welch. But Welch admits he has no ideas for how to fund all-day kindergarten in every districts. He says he may will likely hold off calling his plan for a vote until next year as he tries to come up with a way to pay for it. Already, the governor's budget proposal calls for a three-percent cut to state spending on elementary and high schools.