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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Tell it to Obama and McCain



The folks at Pre-K Now haven't been shy in their advocacy over the years for universal, government-funded prekindergarten for all four-year-olds. (Three-year-olds, too, if it's possible.) Many states - including Florida - have gotten on board, to some extent. (Florida still has those sticky quality issues that Pre-K Now doesn't like.)

But there's always the feds to press into action, right?

That in mind, the D.C.-based advocacy group hired pollsters Peter D. Hart Research Associates and American Viewpoint to conduct a national poll on registered voters' views about pre-k. Guess what they found.

  • Seven in 10 voters - including swing voters - support a new federal grant to help states increase the quality and availability of prekindergarten programs.
  • 56 percent said government at all levels does too little to ensure that children have access to pre-k.
  • 66 percent said it's important for a four-year-old to spend time in a learning program outside the home.

"We found solid support for both a federal role in pre-k and federal funding, and compared with other issues we survey, we saw significantly less drop-off in support when we put a price tag on the idea - even among Republican voters typically leery of government spending," Jay Campbell of Hart Research Associates said in a news release. "These are very positive numbers." (See full results here.)

Can it happen in an economic downturn?


K-12 and higher ed are experiencing cuts. The Ed in '08 attempt to push education to the front burner of the presidential campaign seems to have fizzled. Still, Hillary Clinton did call for universal pre-k during her campaign. What say you, Pre-K Now executive director Libby Doggett?

"The results show that Americans of diverse backgrounds, incomes and political beliefs recognize the importance of ensuring that all families have access to affordable, quality pre-k so that our nation's children can start school ready to learn and thrive. If I were a candidate in a competitive Congressional race, this is a poll I'd pay attention to."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:48am]


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