From the Huffington Post:
Both Democratic and Republican voters want more of an investment in early childhood education, and they want it now, according to a new national poll.
The poll, commissioned by early education advocacy group the First Five Years Fund (FFYR) and conducted by bipartisan researchers, surveyed 800 registered voters on their views. The sample was demographically representative of the electorate and included voters living throughout the country.
Similar to previous polls conducted on the subject, Americans expressed support for the idea of early childhood education. Out of nine sample national priorities, including “reducing the tax burden on families” and “securing our borders,” voters ranked “making sure our children get a strong start in life,” as the second most important, only trumped by “increasing jobs and economic growth.”
Overwhelmingly, voters said the nation should be doing more to make sure children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need (see graph below).
Additionally, respondents expressed support for the ideas behind The Strong Start for America’s Children Act, a bipartisan bill, introduced in November 2013, that seeks to expand early childhood education. The phone survey, which never directly references the act, asked respondents if they support a plan being considered by Congress that:
helps states and local communities provide better early childhood education programs to parents of children from birth to five. It provides ten billion dollars per year for ten years in grants to states to provide all low and moderate income four year olds with voluntarily access to high-quality preschool programs. It also makes available voluntary programs in high-quality early education and child care for infants and toddlers, as well as home visiting and parent education.
Voters across the board said they supported such a proposal.
Those who are typically considered swing voters also supported the proposal:
However, support for the proposal seemed to be somewhat conditional upon its funding method. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they found the proposal to be acceptable “if it were paid for in a way that did not add to the deficit or increase debt," but only 46 percent said they found it acceptable "if it were paid for by prioritizing funding for this program and cutting funding for other programs.”
Still, 76 percent of those surveyed said they thought the suggested proposal should be handled by Congress either this year or next.
Steven Barnett, director of National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, previously told the Associated Press that about half of American children ages 3 or 4 attend an early education program and that a third of children attend programs that are publicly funded.
According to this poll, early childhood education is one of the few issues that unites voters on both sides of the aisle.
Now all Congress has to do is hurry up and take action.
Along with fellow New Hampshire legislators, Senator David Watters was challenged by the NH Minimum Wage work group to live on the minimum wage for a week. Working with a budget of $38.50 (the amount of food stamps for one person for one week), the Senator had this to say about his experience (see the video below):
“…I bought a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, and carrots, my usual lunch materials, thinking this would get me through the week for a sandwich each noon, and then toast in the morning. However, there are 21 slices of bread, so take out 14, and there's just one left for breakfast. And when I made the sandwich, I recalled when I was working in a factory, and in particular when working as a carpenter in my younger days, I would put 4-6 of these sandwiches, fruit, cookies, and milk, in my lunch box, and eat every crumb. And after eating one sandwich, I was really hungry for the rest of the afternoon. So, more potatoes for supper, cooked with an onion, and one piece of chicken, but knowing that if I ate too much today, the end of the week would get very tight. Just not enough to make it through the day, let alone the week, on $5.50 a day…”.Read more »
This past weekend, another mentally unstable man was able to obtain firearms and go on a killing rampage. This time it occurred in Santa Barbara, California. Next time could be anywhere. Fortunately, unlike after most mass killings, Congress is on the verge of taking a step that could deny firearms to dangerous individuals.
Today, the House of Representatives will likely vote on an amendment that would provide additional funding to states to submit records to the National Instant Check System (NICS) for firearm purchases. This bipartisan amendment is being sponsored by Congressmen Mike Thompson (Democrat from California) and Peter King (Republican from New York). It would prohibit convicted felons, domestic abusers, the dangerously mentally ill, and other violent individuals from purchasing firearms by making sure their disqualifying records get into the FBI's NICS database.
Please call your U.S. Representative right now and tell him/ her to vote YES on the Thompson/King Amendment to H.R. 4660. You can be connected to your Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you do not know who your Representative is, you can find out by clicking here.
Make your call today! If enacted, the Thompson/King Amendment WILL save lives. We must seize this moment together and make sure Congress does not drop the ball yet again.
The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), a federal advisory committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, Public Law 112-275, will hold an open meeting on , and .
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