Dear Groundwork Team,
This week I had the opportunity to tune into a webinar from the First Five Years Fund (FYFF) summarizing findings from their 2017 voter poll. I want to share some of the highlights of the poll that I found to be powerful as we consider best strategies to advocate for increased investments in Ohio's early childhood education system.
First, the results offer hope because, although we are in an increasingly polarized political environment, the poll overwhelming showed that on both sides of the aisle, Americans are united in prioritizing quality early education. Voters understand that it pays off in the short and long term. Not only are voters in agreement that early education works for kids and makes our nation stronger, but 85% of voters say there should be increased funding for child care that directly supports greater access to quality programs for low- and middle-income children. Early education is a funding priority, with the vast majority of voters prioritizing helping parents with the cost of early education over holding the line on deficit spending. Lastly, a majority of voters would view their member of Congress more favorably if they supported early education policies and funding.
The American public is committed to smart investments in kids. But with little to no political risk, why aren't more policymakers campaigning on and prioritizing early education policy and funding? As I reflect on Groundwork's budget advocacy and results of this new poll, I have rarely encountered a legislator or statewide officeholder that disagrees as to whether investments in early childhood education is sound policy once they understand what the science tells us about early brain development and what economics tells us about it's return on investment.
So what accounts for the disconnect between what American voters want and policymakers are actually doing? For some, perhaps it is a question of priority. For others, perhaps a lack of moral imperative. As Groundwork considers how to move the needle of Ohio's quality early childhood education system in the coming years, we will continue to grapple with this question and work to connect the overwhelming support across our state to the Statehouse in Columbus. We would love to hear your opinion. Please reach out to us here with your thoughts!
To review all the results in addition to accessing interactive resources visit FYFF here.