In a show of the growing popularity of early education among politicians, 11 governors have included early learning in their 2015 State of the State addresses so far, according to an evaluation by the Education Commission of the States, a non-partisan, Denver-based think tank.
The commission reviewed the 37 State of the State addresses that had been given by the time the report was published on Feb. 24 and counted the number of times particular education policies were mentioned. Early education came in third, tied with teaching quality and workforce education, if you want to rank it that way. School finance and college access were the only education priorities that were highlighted more often than early education.
“Governors show particular interest in expanding access to full-day kindergarten and improving the overall quality of early learning programs,” according to the report.
And despite President Barack Obama’s championing of early education, it has not become a partisan issue among governors. To quote myself covering a previous Education Commission of the States report, “More than half of the states offering state-funded preschool had a Republican governor. Twenty-five of the 44 preschool states are led by Republicans, while the other 19 are led by Democrats.”
Five additional addresses have been delivered since the report came out, and the online version of the report will be updated to reflect those new addresses soon, according to the commission.
“A preliminary look suggests that governors in Texas, Illinois, Ohio and New Hampshire may have referenced early learning in their addresses, in addition to the 11 we highlighted in our [Feb. 24] report, but we can’t confirm that until we’ve gone through them thoroughly,” Julie Rowland, one of the authors of the report wrote by email.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.