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When business gets involved: A case study of business community involvement in Illinois' early childhood education policy

As the first state to offer universal preschool to three‐year‐olds, Illinois’ experience with early childhood
education (ECE) policy reform efforts offers valuable lessons about how such change takes shape. The
confluence of factors includes well‐organized advocacy groups, the endurance to continue efforts over
decades, a supportive governor, and an engaged business community.
The description below details Illinois’ ECE activities from 1992 to the present, with a particular focus on
the business role in ECE policy. Chicago Metropolis 2020 was the main business group involved in ECE
efforts, but, significantly, advocates and politicians also continuously cast the issues in language that
would motivate economic and business interests.

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