THE FIELD POLL

Release #2470 By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field

THE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PARTISAN SURVEY OF PUBLIC OPINION ESTABLISHED IN 1947 AS THE CALIFORNIA POLL BY MERVIN FIELD

Field Research Corporation
601 California Street San Francisco, CA 94108-2814 (415) 392-5763 FAX: (415) 434-2541 EMAIL: fieldpoll@field.com www.field.com/fieldpollonline

Release Date: Friday, April 18, 2014 IMPORTANT: Contract for this service is subject to revocation if publication or broadcast takes place before release date or if contents are divulged to persons outside of subscriber staff prior to release time. (ISSN 0195-4520) EdSource contact: Louis Freedberg (510) 433-0421

MAJORITY OF CALIFORNIA VOTERS SUPPORTS EXPANDING PRE-SCHOOL TO ALL FOUR-YEAR-OLDS DESPITE ITS ADDITIONAL COSTS AND REGARDLESS OF PARENTS' INCOMES.

Most voters in California believe state government should be doing more to provide young children opportunities to attend pre-school and feel it's very important to make publicly supported pre-school available to all of the state's four-year-olds, regardless of their parents' income. Voters support by a greater than two-to-one margin (60% to 25%) the state's recently created transitional kindergarten program, which provides an optional extra year of kindergarten to fouryear-olds who turn five between September and December. In addition, by a five to three margin (57% to 34%), voters believe it would be worth the estimated $1.4 billion cost to expand the transitional kindergarten program to provide all four-year-olds in California an additional year of schooling before they start kindergarten. These findings come from a Field Poll conducted in partnership with EdSource among 1,000 California registered voters. Founded in 1977, EdSource is an independent, non-profit educational research and policy organization highlighting strategies for student success. “The results indicate not only that there is strong voter support for expanding pre-school for fouryear-olds, but also that it would be worth investing significant state dollars to do so,” said Louis Freedberg, executive director of EdSource. “What is especially striking is that there is majority support not only from parents with young children but from the overall registered voter population for these policies."

Field Research Corporation is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

The Field Poll Friday, April 18, 2014

#2470 Page 2

Majority believes state government should be doing more to provide young kids opportunities to attend pre-school When voters are asked about the amount the state government is currently doing to provide young children opportunities to attend pre-school, a majority (56%) believes it should be doing more. This compares to 25% who believe it is doing about the right amount and 12% who feel it is already doing too much. Another 7% have no opinion. While majorities across each of the state's major ethnic voter subgroups believe the state should be doing more, Latinos and African-Americans are most likely to feel this way. Table 1 Amount state government is doing with regard to providing young children with opportunities to attend pre-school (among registered voters) Doing about Should be the right doing more amount Total statewide Parent of child age 5 or less Yes No Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic Latino African-American* Asian-American/other
* Small sample base.

Already doing too much 12 8 13 14 10 9 7

No opinion 7 8 7 8 3 4 8

56% 59% 56% 51% 67% 75% 57%

25 25 24 27 20 12 28

Majority says it's very important that all four-year-olds in California have an additional year of schooling A similar majority of voters (55%) feel it is very important for all four-year-olds in California to have access to an additional year of schooling. Another one in four (24%) believe this is somewhat important, while just 19% say it is not important. Latinos, African-Americans and parents who have kids age five or younger are most likely to say this is very important.

The Field Poll Friday, April 18, 2014

#2470 Page 3

Table 2 Importance of providing all four-year-olds in California with an additional year of schooling (among registered voters) Very important Total statewide Parent of child age 5 or less Yes No Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic Latino African-American* Asian-American/other
* Small sample base.

Somewhat important 24 20 25 26 22 11 26

Not important 19 8 20 24 9 9 15

No opinion 2 2 2 2 * 1 4

55% 70% 53% 48% 69% 79% 55%

More voters prefer the state expanding pre-school without charge to all four-year-olds rather than only low-income families If the state were to expand pre-school to four-year-olds, more voters (51%) prefer that it be made available without charge to all kids rather than only the children of low-income families (38%). Another 11% have no opinion. Support for making pre-school universally available to all four-year-olds without regard to income is greatest among voters who are themselves the parents of a child age five or less (67%).

The Field Poll Friday, April 18, 2014

#2470 Page 4

Table 3 Which do you prefer more: Expanding pre-school so it's available without charge to all four-year-olds, or only to the children of low-income families (among registered voters) Only to children of low-income families 38 28 40 38 40 33 45

All children Total statewide Parent of child age 5 or less Yes No Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic Latino African-American* Asian-American/other
* Small sample base.

No opinion 11 5 11 13 4 6 8

51% 67% 49% 49% 56% 61% 47%

Greater than two-to-one support for the state's new transitional kindergarten program The Poll indicates that only about one in four California voters (24%) have heard about the state's new transitional kindergarten program. However, once it is described to them, voters express substantial support for the program. By a greater than two-to-one margin (60% to 25%) California voters say they support the program, which provides an extra year of kindergarten to four-year-olds who turn five between September and December, and who in earlier years had been eligible for kindergarten. Support for the program is greatest among parents of children age five or less (75%) and Latinos (69%).

The Field Poll Friday, April 18, 2014

#2470 Page 5

Table 4 Opinion of the state's transitional kindergarten program allowing an extra year of kindergarten to four-year-olds who turned five between September and December (among registered voters) Favor Total statewide Parent of child age 5 or less Yes No Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic Latino African-American* Asian-American/other
* Small sample base.

Oppose 25 18 26 25 22 22 29

No opinion 15 7 16 17 9 14 19

60% 75% 58% 58% 69% 64% 52%

Majority believes it's worth the estimated $1.4 billion cost to expand transitional kindergarten to provide all four-year-olds an additional year of schooling before they start kindergarten Legislators in Sacramento are considering expanding the state's transitional kindergarten program to provide all four-year-olds an additional year of schooling before they start kindergarten. It has been estimated that this would cost about $1.4 billion and add 6% to the state's overall k-12 budget by the time it is fully implemented in 2020. When voters were asked their views about this, by a five-to-three margin (57% to 34%) most Californians maintain that spending these additional moneys would be worth the investment. This view is shared by majorities of parents and non-parents of young kids, and by voters across each of the state's major ethnic populations. Most likely to believe this would be worth the investment are Latinos (75%), African-Americans (72%) and parents of children age 5 or less (69%).

The Field Poll Friday, April 18, 2014

#2470 Page 6

Table 5 Would it be worth the investment to expand transitional kindergarten to provide all four-year-olds an additional year of kindergarten at a cost to the state of $1.4 billion once it is fully implemented in 2020? (among registered voters) Yes, worth the investment Total statewide Parent of child age 5 or less Yes No Race/ethnicity White non-Hispanic Latino African-American* Asian-American/other
* Small sample base.

No, not worth the investment 34 24 36 39 20 23 38

No opinion 9 7 8 10 5 5 8

57% 69% 56% 51% 75% 72% 54%

– 30 –

The Field Poll Friday, April 18, 2014

#2470 Page 7

Information About The Survey Methodological Details
The findings in this report are based on a Field Poll completed March 18-April 5, 2014 among a random sample of 1,000 registered voters in California. The survey was conducted in partnership with EdSource, an independent, nonprofit educational research and policy organization. Interviewing was conducted by telephone using live interviewers working from Field Research Corporation's central location telephone interviewing facilities in San Diego. Up to six attempts were made to reach, screen and interview each randomly selected voter from the state's registered voter rolls on different days and times of day during the interviewing period. Interviewing was completed on either a voter's cell phone or a regular landline phone, depending on the source of the telephone listing from the voter file. In this survey about 59% of all voters were contacted on their cell phone, while 41% were contacted on a regular landline phone. After the completion of interviewing, the overall registered voter sample was weighted to demographic, geographic and party registration characteristics of the state's registered voter population. Sampling error estimates applicable to the results of any probability-based survey depend on sample size as well as the percentage distribution being examined. The maximum sampling error for results from the overall sample is +/- 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The maximum sampling error is based on results in the middle of the response distribution (i.e., percentages at or near 50%). Percentages at either end of the distribution (those closer to 10% or 90%) have a smaller margin of error. There are other potential sources of error in surveys besides sampling error. However, the overall design and execution of the survey sought to minimize these other possible errors. The Field Poll was established in 1947 as The California Poll by Mervin Field, who is still an active advisor. The Poll has operated continuously since then as an independent, non-partisan survey of California public opinion. The Poll receives annual funding from media subscribers of The Field Poll, from several California foundations, and the University of California and California State University systems, who receive the data files from each Field Poll survey shortly after its completion for teaching and secondary research purposes. EdSource is an independent, impartial, non-profit organization established in 1977 to engage Californians on key education challenges and to highlight strategies that promote student success. For more information go to www.edsource.org.

Questions Asked
California provides access to preschool programs to some children from low-income families, but not all eligible children are served and there are long waiting lists. What should the state of California be doing with regard to providing opportunities for young children to attend preschool? Should it be doing more than it is now doing, is it doing about the right amount, or is it already doing too much? The state legislature is considering several options to increase the availability of preschool to more of the state’s fouryear-olds. How important do you feel it is for all four-year-olds in California to have access to this additional year of schooling – very important, somewhat important or not important? Which would you be more likely to support: (1) an expanded preschool program that was available without charge to all four-year-olds regardless of income or (2) an expanded preschool program for four-year-olds that was available without charge only to the children of low-income families? California is moving to a system where children must be five by September 1 to enroll in kindergarten. Have you seen, read or heard anything about a public school class that California recently created called “transitional kindergarten” – to allow an extra year of kindergarten for four-year-olds who turned five between September and December and were previously eligible for regular kindergarten? Do you favor strongly, favor somewhat, oppose somewhat or oppose strongly the state’s new transitional kindergarten allowing these four-year-olds to attend an extra year of kindergarten? As more educators attach greater importance to early childhood education, the legislature is considering expanding this transitional kindergarten program to provide all four-year-olds with an additional year of schooling before they start kindergarten. It is estimated that this would add about 6 percent, or about 1.4 billion dollars, to the state’s overall k-12 school budget once it is fully implemented in 2020. Do you think providing kids this additional year of schooling would be worth the investment or not?

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful