In Illinois [and in most states], early childhood education (ECE) funding challenges are marked by a lack of adequate resources exacerbated by the lack of cohesion between the various funding streams supporting children ages 0-5. To better understand the complexity of the system and find a more equitable path forward, CELFE, in partnership with Afton Partners, developed the Geographic Equity Adequacy Mapping (GEAM), a dynamic tool to analyze ECE funding across over 750 unit and elementary school district geographies, aligned with the demographic attributes of families. It aims to provide a comparative view of current funding levels against what is adequately needed based on family demographics.
The GEAM's findings highlight significant disparities in ECE funding across and within Illinois's geographic regions, and serves as a critical resource for policymakers, enabling them to understand the state's ECE funding landscape comprehensively. By leveraging insights from the GEAM, decision-makers can strategize investments more effectively and more equitably. This approach is crucial for developing a more balanced and responsive ECE funding system in Illinois, ensuring that resources are directed where needed to support families and children effectively.
- Theresa Hawley, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Early Learning Funding Equity
- Mitch Mraz, Senior Director, Afton Partners