State of Illinois

Early Education Milestones

Since the inception of the Education program, the Foundation has invested $100 million in early care and education in Illinois. Thanks to our grantees, Illinois is recognized as a national leader in providing quality early care and education. This long-term commitment has enabled Illinois to achieve significant milestones and many "firsts":
  • First state to pass Preschool for All, legislation authorizing universal, high-quality preschool for both three & four year olds
  • First state to mandate English language Learning starting in Preschool
  • One of first states to design a pre-k through 12 principal certificate
  • First state to embed career lattice for early childhood professionals   


World Class Education Birth to 20:
What Will it Take in Illinois?

UIC College of Education is helping to change the conversation in school reform.  Check out their site to see what education leaders around the world think is needed for a world class education. >>

Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans >>

“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”

- President Barack Obama, State of the Union, 
  Feb. 12, 2013

Education Program


Build a system of quality early care and education for children birth through third grade in Illinois.

Our Approach

Improving public policy (eg. adequate funding, quality standards) and building a widespread quality infrastructure (eg. quality workforce) are effective mechanisms to reach children at risk of academic failure, our target population.

In support of this theory, our priority areas of funding are:

  • Improving public policy through increased public investments and policies that support access to quality early care and education for all children age birth through eight.
  • Creating a heightened public awareness of the impact of quality early care and education.
  • Building a quality infrastructure in Illinois that improves the quality of professionals and programs, and ensures continuous improvement.

Program News

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Robert R. McCormick Foundation
205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 4300
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312 445 5000
Fax: 312 445 5001