While attention has increasingly focused on the statewide child care crisis—that threatens to deprive low-income working parents across Illinois of affordable child care—the Bright Future Chicago Coalition just unveiled a new report detailing the many ways that Chicago’s early education and early care system fails parents and children—especially those families with the greatest need for those services.
The report, titled “Parents on the Edge: How Chicago’s Early Care and Education System Fails Families,” combines an analysis of enrollment trends in recent years with data and real-life experiences reported in surveys of hundreds of Chicago parents.
The report’s findings directly contradict recent claims made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in both his official capacity as Mayor and in campaign ads ahead of the late February ballot. While the Mayor has repeatedly claimed that he has expanded access to Pre-Kindergarten, both the official enrollment numbers and the experiences of the surveyed parents tell a very different story. As the report details, enrollment has actually declined since the Mayor first took office, and policies he has put in place have erected additional barriers for low-income parents seeking access to early education programs for their children.