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Early Childhood Education is on the Ballot in Chicago on February 28th

In this blog post, Kyrsten Emanuel, senior policy manager, and Carmen Garcia, policy specialist, provide an overview of where Chicago’s mayoral candidates stand on early childhood-related issues and encourage stakeholders to get out the vote on February 28th.

Kyrsten Emanuel February 14, 2023
  • Policy and Systems
  • Blog

Chicago’s mayoral and aldermanic election is just around the corner and recently candidates had the opportunity to weigh in on how they would tackle Chicago’s complex issues related to early childhood education. During a candidate forum hosted last Wednesday evening by over 20 organizations that serve families with young children across the city, seven of Chicago’s nine mayoral hopefuls spoke to an audience of hundreds of early childhood educators, parents, advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders.  

The Early Childhood Education Forum, led by Child Care Advocates United, put early childhood education issues front and center and enforced the notion that any successful mayoral candidate has a mandate to take action once in office to support the early care and education workforce and the families they serve. Participating candidates all gave recognition to the important role that early childhood education plays in addressing the needs of the whole child and their family and community. They uplifted the prenatal to five period as critical for intervention and spoke of the value of high-quality early childhood experiences in preventing later challenges in life.   

While all candidates participating in the forum demonstrated an understanding of the challenges faced by the early care and education system in Chicago, they offered few details on just how they would address the ongoing early childhood workforce crisis, better support community-based organizations, reconcile the competing priorities of Chicago’s mixed delivery system for pre-k, address issues arising as a result of fractured funding sources, and further support families to access the program that best meets their needs.  

Fortunately for the next mayoral administration and city council, early childhood advocates have provided a clear roadmap for addressing these challenges through their release of a Mayoral and Aldermanic Candidate Brief, which was distributed to every candidate running for one of these offices. Advocates have outlined steps for the city’s elected officials to work in partnership with stakeholders to invest in more capacity to lead the planning and administration of Chicago’s system of early childhood services and supports, address gaps in access to high-quality early care and education for all of Chicago’s children, and acknowledge the critical work of early childhood professionals by increasing support and compensation for the workforce.

Get Out The Vote – Where and When to Vote

  • The Chicago municipal elections are February 28, but you don’t have to wait until that date as early voting is now underway in each of the city’s wards.
  • This year’s ballot includes not only the mayoral election, but several seats on the City Council, and the newly created representatives for district councils across the city’s 22 police districts. With multiple seats up for vote this month, you can view the full listing city ballot.
  • Not sure if you are registered to vote or have you recently moved or changed your name?  Check your status on the Chicago Board of Elections website.
  • If no candidate receives the majority of the vote, a runoff election will take place on April 4

About the Author

Kyrsten Emanuel

Kyrsten Emanuel

Senior Policy Manager, Illinois Policy

Kyrsten leads Illinois’ advocacy strategies related to health and the City of Chicago.

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