Tags: Polls | poll | preschool | funding | education

Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds Favor More Spending on Preschool

By    |   Monday, 08 September 2014 11:58 AM

Almost two-thirds of Americans would favor spending more federal money to ensure preschool education programs are available for every child in America, according to a new Gallup Poll.

The survey released Sept. 8 found that 70 percent of Americans back increased federal spending to "make sure high-quality preschool education programs are available" to every child, while 28 percent oppose additional spending.

While independent voters reflected the view of all Americans, clear differences of opinion emerged between Republicans and Democrats.

Among Republicans, 53 percent support boosting federal spending, while a clear majority, 87 percent, of Democrats backed more federal funding.

In terms of the views among racial groups, whites were less supportive, 63 percent, of expanding preschool education than non-whites at 85 percent.

Similarly, lower-income households expressed more support than middle- and upper-income households by an 81 percent to 65 percent margin.

In seemingly contradictory findings, Gallup found in a separate survey that Americans favor a smaller role for the federal government in education matters.

As part of its annual poll on the public's attitude toward public education, PDK International and Gallup reported in August that 56 percent of Americans prefer control over education to be in the hands of local school boards, rather than the 15 percent who prefer the federal government. Twenty-eight percent said they believe state government should have the most say.

In addition, the public's views on the controversial Common Core education standards have experienced a steep decline in support. In the survey, 60 percent of respondents said they oppose the standards.

The level of opposition was greater among those who knew more about Common Core. Those who said they know "a great deal" about the Common Core standards were somewhat less likely to favor them, 24 percent, than those who only know a little, 39 percent.

"Americans are generally distrusting of the federal government these days, and this suspicion colors opinions concerning its involvement in public education, as well. This is consistent with studies that show Americans' generally higher trust in local over national government, and the results align with the last time this question was asked on the PDK/Gallup poll," wrote Gallup analyst Valerie Calderon.

While the public supports spending more on preschool education, a survey of Pennsylvania voters found most underestimated how much was currently being spent.

Unlike the Gallup poll, which did not ask respondents how much they thought the government was already spending on education, a poll conducted for the Pennsylvania-based Commonwealth Fund did.

The survey, which was conducted by the Republican polling firm, The Tarrance Group, found a majority of voters expressed surprise when told the state currently spends $2,900 more per-student on education than the national average.

The poll, taken between August 18 and 20, reported that 64 percent said spending on preschool education should be increased, but that level dropped after learning how much is already allocated to education.

"This poll reveals that voters are largely misinformed about what the state spends on public schools and are stunned by the inadequate achievement levels their money is buying," commented Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. "It’s also clear that the public favors alternatives to tax increases to fix the education system. When voters were informed of funding and achievement facts, support for boosting education funding by hiking taxes dropped significantly."

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Almost two-thirds of Americans would favor spending more federal money to ensure preschool education programs are available for every child in America, according to a new Gallup Poll.
poll, preschool, funding, education
Monday, 08 September 2014 11:58 AM
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