Early Childhood Education: A Priority for American Families

02 November 2015 Written by  

preK pollVoters across America are united in their support for investments in early childhood education (ECE). According to the First Five Years Fund’s 2015 bipartisan poll, more than 75 percent of American voters across party lines want to see an increase in federal investment to help states provide greater access to high-quality early childhood programs for low- and moderate-income families. Giving children a strong start in life was ranked as important in 89 percent of the survey’s responses — even coming in ahead of reducing the tax burden on families (ranked important by 70 percent of respondents).

The vast majority of voters who participated in FFYF’s annual survey also described a candidate who supports federal investment in state and local efforts to expand access to early childhood education as someone who stands in support of low- and moderate-income families. Nearly 85 percent of respondents felt that candidates’ show of support for early childhood education would demonstrate that they are “looking out for working- & middle-class families.”

Most voters also feel that investments made in ECE should be greater than, or at least equal to, investments in higher education. 33 percent of respondents said that investments should be divided equally between early childhood and higher education; 42 percent believe that we should invest more earlier, during those years when the foundation for a child’s educational experience is first being created.

Like millions of families across America, hardworking Utah families know the importance of high-quality early childhood education. Working parents across the state want to make sure their children have the very best opportunities for success. Because most providers in Utah are private, however, low- and moderate-income families often find themselves “priced out” of the high-quality licensed market. Even middle-class families struggle with the cost—a statewide average of $8,052 per child per year—especially those with more than one young child. No Utah child should be “priced out” of the opportunity to build a solid educational foundation. No Utah family should be denied access to the kinds of high-quality early childhood programs that are essential to the healthy development and school readiness of their kids — especially on the basis of cost. We must continue to build momentum—at federal, state, and local levels alike—in our effort to ensure bright futures for all Utah children through access to high-quality early childhood education.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex


Sara Face Shot BetterSara Gunderson, Office Manager and Executive Assistant, joined the organization in 2007. She has extensive administrative experience, including more than eight years in development at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Sara received her BS in Psychology at the University of Utah with a coursework emphasis in infant and child development.