Nearly two thirds of California voters consider preschool “very important,” according to a new Field Poll, conducted in partnership with the California education news outlet EdSource. An additional 22 percent said they thought preschool was “somewhat important.”
Voter enthusiasm held steady when the focus was directed to publicly funded preschool.
“When asked how important it was for the state to further expand preschool so it serves all low-income 4-year-olds, 58 percent of those surveyed said it was ‘very important’ and 23 percent said it was ‘somewhat important,’” Lisa Fine reported for EdSource.
The poll data comes on the heels of a bill introduced in the California legislature on Monday that would expand the state’s public preschool program to all eligible 3- and 4-year-olds. Currently, the program is underfunded, and not all children who qualify under the income requirements are able to secure a spot in a classroom.
Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, may have the public’s support for his bill. It’s far less certain if Gov. Jerry Brown will throw his support behind the bill. The governor has been historically reluctant to come out in favor of preschool programs, though he did sign off on an additional $273 million for early learning and child development in the 2014 budget.
“We are moving the needle here,” Deborah Stipek, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education told EdSource’s Fine in response to hearing the poll data. “That’s really impressive. I hope our governor and Legislature are listening.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.