Early Childhood

School District Leaders Say Early Education Needed, But Underfunded

By Christina A. Samuels — October 13, 2017 1 min read

More than three-quarters of American public school superintendents say that early-childhood care and education means “a great deal” to a child’s future success—but that they work in states that are investing too little in it.

The findings come from a survey of a nationally-representative sample of district leaders conducted by Gallup earlier this year. The survey organization has been releasing findings since the summer; this look at superintendents’ views on early childhood came out Oct. 11.

The majority of superintendents also said that quality care was hard to find—63 percent said they “strongly disagreed” or “disagreed” with the statement that high-quality care was “available to every family in my state.”

There were notable variations among superintendents based on where they were located, however: 79 percent of urban superintendents did not believe that high-quality care was widely available. That compares to 56 percent of rural superintendents who said they didn’t think all families in their state could access high-quality care.

The superintendents’ views may color their opinion of how prepared 5-year-olds are to start school in their state. Only 16 percent “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that children in their state are prepared to be successful in kindergarten. That question also illustrated a rural-urban divide: 9 percent of urban superintendents said their state’s kindergartners are ready from day one, compared to 18 percent of rural district leaders.

Image by Getty

A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.