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All Chicago Public Schools will offer full-day kindergarten

New Schools CEO BarbarByrd-Bennett speaks City Club Chicago lunch Maggiano's Banquets 111 W. GrAve. Monday Nov.26 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

New Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett speaks at the City Club of Chicago lunch at Maggiano's Banquets, 111 W. Grand Ave., Monday, Nov.26, 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 26, 2013 9:53AM



All Chicago Public Schools will provide full-day kindergarten under an initiative Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will announce Monday.

Currently, the city’s public schools have the option of offering full-day kindergarten — rather than the minimum half-day required by state law — and most do. Next school year, they will be required to provide the full-day program, according to the mayor’s office. The change will make full-day kindergarten available to 30,700 children next fall — 4,200 more than this school year.

“Every single child deserves to have a high-quality education that will prepare them to succeed in life. That can’t happen if they are behind their peers across the nation when they enter first grade,” Emanuel in a statement.

The plan drew accolades from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former CPS chief, who called the decision to make early learning a priority “in tight fiscal times” forward-thinking and “a strategic investment” in the city.

Details on how the mandate will be funded, how much it will cost and how many teachers will be hired were not made available Sunday. A full announcement of the program is scheduled for Monday morning.



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