SPRINGFIELD, IL - Both Governor Bruce Rauner and President Barack Obama are focused on revamping the state's early childhood education program into one that ranges from "cradle to career."
Rauner used the term in his State of the State address two weeks ago, saying, "From cradle to career, our children’s education needs to be our top priority."
The President has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans – from cradle to career – a top priority, a White House press release confirms.
The "career-to-cradle" model is based on Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children Zone (HCZ) model.It is structured upon "a conveyor belt" model within a 100-block area in Harlem that moves from three early childhood programs, an elementary-through-high school Promise Academy, to a college success office. The teaching model starts shortly after birth.
Illinois' governor and his wife, who is president of Chicago's "Ounce of Prevention" advocacy group, is honed in on early childhood education. Rauner said Wednesday that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the state gets a $7 return.
Thursday morning, Illinois' new First Lady Diana Rauner and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk met with leadership from Family Focus and Children's Home + Aid to discuss the importance of reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Visiting Program (MIECHV). MIECHV supports pregnant women and families by finding resources that assist early childhood development with children from birth to the age of 5.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund, led by Diana Rauner, is a nonprofit that creates and supports early learning programs, educates professionals to reach more children with high-quality approaches, and advocates for systems and policies to provide quality early childhood experiences in the first five years of the child's life. Diana Rauner was appointed President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund in January 2011.
Family Focus concentrates on assisting low-income communities throughout Chicago with programs, classes, support groups and referral services to ensure the children in the community are receiving the support necessary for early childhood development. Currently, there are 7 Family Focus locations in the Greater Chicago area including Englewood, Lawndale, Cicero/Hermosa, Evanston, Highwood/Highland Park, DuPage and Aurora.
Children's Home + Aid has existed over 130 years and serves more than 40,000 children and families annually in over 60 counties throughout Illinois. The organization assists in linking children to a network of opportunity and care by connecting children to extended family, teachers, mentors and resources throughout their neighborhood and community.
As a member of the Senate’s Health Education Labor Pensions Committee, Senator Kirk's office says he has made education one of his top priorities – including support for early childhood education programming and charter school opportunities.