Poll: California Voters Support Prekindergarten Expansion
The proposal to expand prekindergarten for 4-year-olds in California is proving to be a popular one, according to a poll of state residents conducted by the Field Poll, in partnership with EdSource, a California education research and policy group. The survey of 1,000 registered voters, released April 18, shows that 79 percent believe that it's "very important" to provide transitional kindergarten for all 4-year olds, compared to 19 percent that believe that such an expansion is unimportant. (The margin of error is about 3 percentage points.)
Among the different demographic groups surveyed, non-Hispanic whites had the largest group of respondents saying that a preschool expansion is not important, at 24 percent.
California Democrats have been advocating on behalf of a $1 billion plan to expand the state's "transitional kindergarten" program to all 4-year-olds. Currently, the program is open only to children who just miss the state's kindergarten enrollment cutoff of September 1.
One prominent state Democrat has been cool to the plan, however, and that is the governor, Jerry Brown. The state currently has a budget surplus, but Brown has warned against plowing that money into new programs, instead recommending that it be used to pay down the state's debt. My colleague Andrew Ujifusa over at State EdWatch has more details on the political maneuvering behind this proposal.