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26% of Illinois children come into kindergarten developmentally ready, says new Illinois report

Peter Medlin
A preschool class at Summerdale Early Childhood Center

Anew report from the Illinois State Board of Education highlights how many children are developmentally ready for Kindergarten upon entering.

Results of Illinois’ Kindergarten Individual Development Survey or “KIDS” show only 26% of children met readiness standards in all of the measured areas. Thirty-nine percent met standards in none of the categories.

The survey covers three areas: math, language and literacy development and social and emotional development. Teachers observe Kindergarten students throughout the first 40 days of school to gauge where they're at in the development areas.

Carissa Hurley is the Director of Early Childhood Education at the state board.

She says the state needs to invest more in early childhood education programs. Governor J.B. Pritzker’s budget includes a $50 million block grant for early childhood.

“We need that to continue, because we need to provide access to high-quality early childhood programs," she said. "And as more kids have access to the programs, we should be able to see that reflected in our KIDS data.”

She says that based on the findings, teachers can adjust their curriculum and communicate with parents to help identify needs.

“We want to identify where more resources are needed to increase local understanding of and opportunities for quality early learning experiences,” said Hurley.

Development inequities persist throughout the report. Only 15% of Hispanic children were ready in all three development areas measured by the study, compared with 22% of black students and 32% of white students.

And nearly half of the state’s kindergarteners qualify for free or reduced lunch. But of those kids, only 18% met all of the readiness levels compared with 34% who do not qualify for the program.