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Poll Finds Widespread Support for State-Funded Pre-K

January 11, 2018
Kevin Richert
Idaho EdNews

A supermajority of Idahoans says the state should put money into pre-kindergarten programs, according to new statewide polling data.

Seventy-six percent of voters and 80 percent of parents of children 5 and younger support state-funding for pre-K, according to the poll unveiled Wednesday by the Association for the Education of Young Children, an early education advocacy group.

Idaho is among only a handful of states that does not fund pre-K, and the idea has run into stiff resistance at the Statehouse. But AEYC Executive Director Beth Oppenheimer says she hopes the new data will make pre-K into a “safe issue” for lawmakers.

“This has been a missing piece in the whole conversation,” Oppenheimer said at a Statehouse news conference Wednesday morning. “We didn’t really know what Idahoans all across the state think.”

The poll found Idahoans are hard-wired on the pre-K issue. Solid majorities of respondents said they strongly support state-funded pre-K, and 76 percent of parents said they would use state-funded preschool, if it was available to them. That passion was somewhat of a surprise to Erik Iverson, the president and CEO of Moore Information, the polling company that compiled the Idaho results.

“You see a lot of intensity and a lot of passion,” he said.

The survey of 509 Idahoans — including 103 parents with children age 5 and under — also indicated widespread concerns about the state of early education, and widespread belief in the value of pre-K: