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Inquiry Series to Probe Early Childhood Education for All

With all the talk about “leaving no child behind,” what about those children who never make it to the starting line in the first place? Current estimates are that one-third of all students entering kindergarten aren’t ready. " An upcoming Inquiry Series dialogue, co-sponsored by the School of Education and Social Policy and the Inner-City Teaching Corps, will address the issue of preschool education for all children.

“Is Illinois Leaving Children Behind in the First Grade? Lessons on the Impact of Investing in Early Childhood Education to Ensure No Child Starts Behind" will feature David Lawrence Jr., president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, who will present an overview of Florida’s program to provide high-quality preschool for all the state's four-year-olds. SESP professor of human development and social policy P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale will provide a brief perspective on universal pre-kindergarten in Illinois and will lead the dialogue and question-and-answer session.

The breakfast event will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16, at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson in Chicago. Anyone interested in urban education is invited to attend; the fee is $25.

Registrations are being taken online here.
For questions, call 847/467-2073 or e-mail

The state of Florida is a national pioneer in the charge for universal pre-kindergarten education. A constitutional amendment passed by Florida’s voters requires a voluntary pre-kindergarten program for all four-year-olds to begin in fall 2005. Lawrence, whose organization was instrumental in the adoption of this program to prepare four-year-olds for educational success, will explain how it will work and how Florida can afford to provide universal pre-K education. Florida is one of only eight states in the country providing any kind of universal preschool opportunities for children.

Professor Chase-Lansdale, a senior developmental psychologist, studies how aspects of the social environment, such as poverty, neighborhood characteristics, early parenthood, family structures and maternal employment, affect children, adolescents and families. She is chair of the board of directors of the Foundation for Child Development; a board member of the MacArthur Foundation Network on the Family and the Economy; and an advisory board member of the Family Research consortium on Ethnic and Economic Diversity in Family Processes, Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the National Institute of Mental Health. Her recent books include Human Development Across Lives and Generations and For Better and For Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families.

Inquiry is a series of breakfast dialogues for civic leaders in Chicago who have a demonstrated interest in urban education issues. Periodically the series gathers a distinguished group of civic leaders to explore the most important issues in urban education reform. Past Inquiry events have included an exploration of the impact of the No Child Left Behind law and an in-depth look at the Chicago Public Schools' Renaissance 2010 reform initiative.

by Laurie Carlin Davidson

Updated September 30, 2005

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