CTU commends Gov. Pritzker for boosting early childhood education funding but urges the state to do more.

CHICAGO, IL—The Chicago Teacher Union released the following statement in response to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s Budget Address:

During his address to the state, Gov. Pritzker made it clear that he understands the burdens working families face and values childcare and early childhood education.

In particular, his push to increase funding for early childhood education makes it clear that this governor understands the value of women working with our state’s youngest residents daily. We thank Gov. Pritzker for his proposal to increase the early childhood block grant and to invest additional funds into childcare.

However, childcare and early childhood education are only some places in need of additional support. The state’s evidence-based funding (EBF) model remains billions of dollars short every year, reinforcing a structural inequity that harms hundreds of classrooms and school communities throughout our state, including Chicago. Those districts, like ours, serve predominantly low-income students and the most significant number of Black and brown children in Illinois. Regrettably, the inability of the state to adequately fund the EBF will continue a decades-long neglect of our state’s neighborhood public schools and will jeopardize the education of our most vulnerable students.

To better serve our students and their families, we believe the State of Illinois should increase EBF beyond the $350 million increase in the governor’s proposal to a minimum of $750 million in FY24.

“For our students to learn and our educators to teach, we must have the support of elected leaders willing to fight for fully funded libraries and curriculums that reflect the fullness of our shared American history, the good, the bad and the bittersweet,” said Stacy Davis Gates, CTU president and high school history teacher. “We appreciate the governor’s advocacy for early childhood education and the plight of working women, and we are willing to work with him to ensure our youngest citizens have access to the best child care possible.”

Davis Gates continued, “We also hope the governor is willing to work with us to increase funding to the school funding formula because our children and their educators can’t do more with less. While we applaud the Governor’s educator pipeline program, our schools are in demand of more social workers, guidance counselors and clinicians to deal with the unprecedented mental health crisis taking place in our schools.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.