New Illinois laws designed to strengthen early education

The new education laws will take effect July 1

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed two bills into law Wednesday that aim to help the state's early education programs.

Both laws take effect July 1 and will provide more funding for early education and performance incentives for teachers.

Under the first law, House Bill 4440, a greater percentage of the state's Early Childhood Education Block Grant program will go towards children up to the age of three.

Currently, 11 percent of the grant program's funds go towards children 0 to 3. The law will increase that amount to 14 percent for the next fiscal year, and up to 20 percent by Fiscal Year 2016.

The second law, House Bill 5393, makes it easier for teachers who achieve Illinois Master Teacher certification to earn an annual $1,500 incentive.

Priority for the incentives will be given to teachers in districts with under-performing schools and high poverty rates.