This weekend, the Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County is going to feature the best in beans and cornbread; BBQ; and, hot and biting partisan rhetoric. And you know, that is not such a bad tradition. In general, politicians and the crowd approach those rip-snorting stump speeches with vim, vigor and a certain tongue in cheek sense of humor. In other words, every once in awhile, some partisan ranting does the body politic good!
However, occasionally just the opposite is true and some common ground does the body politic (and kids) some good.
That kind of common ground opportunity resonates in the joint effort by Kentucky Youth Advocates and the First Five Years Fund in releasing the results of a national survey of voters which finds that a significant majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike support a plan to help states and local communities provide better early childhood education programs to parents of children from birth to age five, ensuring that all children get a strong start in life.
Conducted by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research, the national telephone survey of 800 registered voters found that 70 percent of Americans favored providing all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds with voluntary access to high-quality preschool programs as well as making available more early education and child care programs for infants and toddlers and home visiting and parent education programs for families.
At a time in which there is so much disagreement in Frankfort and in Washington, this report represents a very opportunity for making progress together. The overwhelming majority of voters have found a common ground – supporting the youngest of children. Those voters agree that all children need to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to start kindergarten—and life—on the right foot and want the country – and the state — to do more, now, to achieve this goal. With such a broad base of support, we urge Congress to take action and give states the funding and flexibility to build high quality early childhood education programs without adding to the deficit. It is also a reminder to Kentucky lawmakers that the Commonwealth’s citizens expect Frankfort to make an investment in preschool children’s learning and care.
Support for the proposal increased to 77 percent when respondents were told explicitly that the proposal would not add to the deficit, including 72 percent support from Republicans, 71 percent from Independents and 88 percent from Democrats. A majority of voters (51 percent) strongly support such a proposal.