Once again Americans are saying they want the federal government to expand pre-kindergarten, with 70 percent supporting greater federal funding to ensure all children have access to a good pre-k classroom, a new Gallup poll found.
This is the second poll in the last two months that shows voters want improved access to high-quality early education. In July, the First Five Years Fund released a different poll that showed Republican and Democratic voters overwhelmingly (91 percent) want to make child care more affordable.
In Seattle this fall, this support will face a real test, when voters decide whether to pass one of two ballot measures that would expand access to high-quality preschool in the city. A plan from Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council would create a $58 million demonstration project that would provide voluntary preschool access for 2,000 children by 2018. A competing measure is designed to increase pay and improve training and professional development for early learning professionals, according a story by KPLU, a National Public Radio affiliate in Seattle.
The latest poll contains encouraging nuggets for the upcoming vote. Independents, often a critical voting block in political battles, support expanded federal funding for pre-k at the same level as overall support.
And respondents who do not have younger children are nearly as likely to support pre-k as parents with children under the age of 18, according to the poll released this week.
Even with this support the odds that Congress and the Obama administration will agree on a federal plan to expand pre-k this year remain long.
Although a slim majority of Republicans favor expanded federal funds for pre-K education, their level of support is much less than that of Democrats. And with Republicans currently holding the majority in the House, it is unclear how motivated they would be to take action on the issue as opposed to other issues for which rank-and-file Republicans show far greater support.
—“In U.S., 70% Favor Federal Funds to Expand Pre-K Education.” Gallup Politics, 9/9/14.
- “Americans Say They Support Federal Dollars for Pre-K.” EdCentral, New America Foundation, 9/8/14.