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Reason Foundation

Universal Preschool in Chicago, NOT UNIVERSAL

Lisa Snell
August 13, 2007, 1:46pm

One of the little published but obvious facts about universal preschool is that when you make programs universal, there is less money for poorer more disadvantaged children. And parents and policymakers who represent communities who are not as disadvantaged are more savvy about directing resources to their children first. And even in disadvantaged communities, the most disadvantaged families are the least likely to benefit from these new preschool programs. Ironic, I know. Case in point, this radio program from Chicago Public Radio. Title says it all. "Latino Children Shortchanged on Preschool for All" When Illinois lawmakers voted last year to increase early education funding, they proudly labeled the plan "Preschool for All." The extra $45 million last year–with a vow to add $90 million more by 2008–made headlines nationwide, and it's already opened classrooms to thousands more kids. But a new report says many of Illinois' poorest children are being shut out of the plan.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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