Chicago’s Crisis: Education Funding in Peril

With the whirlwind of confusion surrounding the contested education bill that is currently in flux in the Illinois General Assembly, there are questions about the Chicago Public School District.

The Sun-Times is reporting that CPS will be underfunded if the General Assembly does not override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto. That veto came because of the Democratic overhaul bill to change education funding in the state. Rauner vetoed the bill, citing “cronyism” within the bill itself.

The Impact on Chicago

The CPS budget will lose around $450 million, causing long-lasting harm to early childhood programs, including preschool in Chicago programs. This has caused trouble for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has taken on the responsibility of ensuring that the CPS budget is balanced.

CPS is a large program that teaches hundreds of thousands of students. The budget shortfall will not go unnoticed. Gov. Rauner has already indicated he would not accept a portion of the legislation that lends funds to the schools of Chicago. To that effect, the Governor introduced an amendment that sought to remove the so-called “bailout,” which was swiftly vetoed by members of his own party.

Damage to Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education is needed in Chicago. With a growing population of minority ethnic and religious groups, preschools in Chicago remain a starting point for social education. A diverse experience prepares students for secondary school; few programs can boast that accomplishment.

Loss of Funds Hurts Children

Children as young as two can benefit from social interaction in a structured environment. In fact, instruction in early childhood programs has been proven to better prepare students for their education through the 12th grade. Preschools and other programs also help children bond and interact with a diverse group of children to learn social skills. This includes listening, reasoning, communication, and interpersonal skills.

But with the loss of funding to CPS, the gains made in early childhood might be lost. Schools who have worked hard to build a strong foundation for their students may limit programs. Some families may even find their options for preschool in Chicago to be limited.

Is There a Solution?

Some schools are looking towards early childhood programs outside of CPS. These programs, which cater to underserved demographics in their area, can be a relief to parents. And with many offering fee assistance, it can be their only shining light for their child’s educational feature.

Preschool is necessary for students in Chicago. The impact on their social education alone should make it a priority for all legislators. Until the General Assembly can resolve the issue of educational funding, private preschools and early childhood programs will step up to the plate.