SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) — Improving education in Illinois has to start well before kindergarten, according to what a state House committee is hearing.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, educators say a good preschool education is vital.

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LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

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Bev Cicolello, an early childhood teacher in Rockford, says the numbers bear that out.

“As recently as 2008, 100 percent of our former early childhood students graduated from high school, while the rest of the Rockford High School District dropout rate was 14 percent. We also were able to shrink the achievement gap to 3 percentile points between African-American students and majority students in areas of behavior.”

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Cicolello, speaking on behalf of programs such as Preschool for All, told a House Appropriations panel that early childhood education has a huge ripple effect.