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Illinois became the first state in the country to authorize universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds last week (Georgia and Oklahoma offer preschool for all 4-year olds).

"This is a bill that can raise the bar for the rest of the country," Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a Harvard professor of pediatrics and national child development expert, said Tuesday in the Chicago Sun-Times. The bill allows the use of state money to pay for preschool for all children, not only those from low-income families. The goal for the program is a gradual expansion plan, with the state hoping to grow from serving 130,000 children to 190,000 by 2010. This year's 10,000 new slots are prioritized for academically at-risk youth and middle income families. One step closer to quality early child education for all families!

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