• Jennifer Egmont
Categorized As:
Education & Talent

As the Election Approaches, Pre-K for PA Gains Momentum

With election season upon us, Pre-K for PA campaign partners statewide are hard at work continuing to build awareness and support for increased access to high-quality pre-k. These efforts are definitely paying off.

 

Just this month, the campaign received major media attention (see KYW6ABCNBC10, and CBS3) for a campaign rally in Philadelphia’s Franklin Square, where hundreds of preschoolers and adults gathered to show their support for improving pre-k access. School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Bill Hite spoke at the rally, noting that students who have access to quality pre-k do better in school, are more likely to be able to read proficiently by third grade, and are more likely to graduate from high school. And, just last week, the Harrisburg Patriot News editorial board showed its support for expanded pre-k by publishing a piece titled “It helps kids, fights crime, and strengthens the military, so let's have more of it.” And just today, the York Dispatch editorial board demonstrated their support for the campaign's goals in a piece titled "Make pre-k a priority."

 

While support from the press and local leaders is important, real change will come about only if the broader public supports the campaign’s goals. To improve its understanding of public opinion, the campaign commissioned national pollsters Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research & Consulting to conduct a statewide poll late this summer. The results were encouraging --key findings include:

 

  • Education is a core value for Pennsylvania voters. 60% of voters say that improving k-12 education is a top priority. And, when considered separately from k-12 education, 42% say improving pre-k is a top priority.

  • Likely voters strongly support access to pre-k programs for every 3- and 4-year-old in the state. 68% favor every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania having access to voluntary, high-quality pre-k programs, including 55% who strongly favor it.

  • There is support for increasing funding to ensure all Pennsylvania children have access to these programs – even if it increases taxes. 64% of voters favor increasing public funding for pre-k; nearly half favor an increase in funding even if it means an increase in their taxes.

  • Support for expanded pre-k crosses party lines.  81% of self-identified Democrats, 74% of self-identified independents, and 51% of self-identified Republicans favor increasing funding to provide access to pre-k programs for every 3- and 4-year-old in the state.

To build on this momentum, in the coming weeks, the Economy League will release a new research brief that will demonstrate how high-quality pre-k impacts k-12 schools and systems and what benefits expanded access will yield for Pennsylvania’s cash-strapped education system.