early childhood blog 7.23After a year of increases in the funding and access to early childhood education across the U.S., including Kentucky’s commitment to increase preschool funding by $18 million and the restoration of Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program, the public continues to support children’s opportunity to get a strong start.

A recently released report on the results of a bi-partisan poll shows that voters across the political spectrum support investments in early childhood programs from birth to age five. Conducted by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research between May 28-June 1, 2014, the national telephone survey of 800 registered voters found that ensuring children get a strong start in life is one of the highest national priorities, only second to increasing jobs and economic growth.

The poll also found that overwhelming majorities of voting groups support federal investments in local early childhood education.

Other findings include:

  • 91 percent of those polled favor making early education and child care more affordable, including 87 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents and 97 percent of Democrats.
  • Participants in the poll also value investments in quality with 86 percent of respondents favoring funding programs that meet specific quality standards.
  • 77 percent of respondents favor investments in voluntary home visiting and parent education programs.

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The results of this poll support the notion that we can continue to do more to support early childhood education in Kentucky.

Early childhood education influences a child’s readiness for kindergarten. Less than half (49 percent) of children in Kentucky screened in 2013/2014 were considered kindergarten ready. The poll showed that people from all parties want to do more to ensure that children have the skills to enter kindergarten ready to do their best. Kindergarten is only the first step in a positive trajectory for children that attend quality early learning programs.

Not only does early childhood education prepare children for school, but it can also increase academic attainment, promote economic growth, prevent chronic disease, and build character.

Kentucky’s elected state officials have shown their commitment to investing in early childhood education with their support in the 2015-2016 budget. This poll has implications for federal level funding support regardless of political alignment.

You can help by urging your members of Congress to invest in early learning opportunities.