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Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Increased State Pre-K Funding

Poll results show Pennsylvanians recognize the importance of early childhood education. (dagon_/Pixabay)
Poll results show Pennsylvanians recognize the importance of early childhood education. (dagon_/Pixabay)
June 8, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. – As the legislature returns to hammer out a state budget, a new poll shows a sizable majority of voters are willing to pay more taxes to support publicly funded pre-K programs.

The statewide poll, commissioned by the Pre-K for PA campaign, found that three out of four voters in the Keystone State support increased state funding to expand access to high-quality pre-kindergarten. And Brock McCleary, president of Harper Polling, says when it comes to recognizing the necessity of skills and behaviors learned in pre-k, voters are almost unanimous.

"This is a rare case where you have a strong consensus that early childhood education really is critical to the kind of student you become and ultimately the kind of healthy and productive life we want all of our Pennsylvanians to strive for," says McCleary.

Almost two-thirds of those polled say they would pay an extra $50 a year in taxes to fund high-quality pre-k.

McCleary notes that the results were fairly consistent in every part of the state, in every age group, and across party lines.

"Fifty-seven percent of Republicans favor increasing pre-k spending. Folks who are 65-years of age and older support an increase in funding for pre-k," says McCleary.

Right now, more that 106,000 eligible Pennsylvania children do not have access to publicly funded pre-k.

McCleary says the poll results show that Pennsylvania voters recognize that ages of three to five are a time of incredible development for children.

"The capacity for learning and knowledge is extreme and it can be difficult for parents to fill that need and so pre-k is doing a good job of helping to provide that," says McCleary.

The current proposal for the new state budget includes an additional $40 million for pre-k, enough to expand access to more than 4,400 new students.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA