By Matt Weyer
Nebraskans recently weighed in on early care and education for young children in their state and the results are quite intriguing.
In the largest Gallup Poll ever conducted in Nebraska, 68 percent of respondents indicated that early care and education has a significant impact on the long-term success of students. In contrast, 10 percent strongly believe that most young children in Nebraska are prepared to be successful upon entering kindergarten.
The Buffett Early Childhood Institute and Gallup Inc. administered surveys to more than 7,100 Nebraskans regarding early care and education programs and investments. Among other notable findings, only 1 percent of respondents say all children birth to age 5 receive high-quality early care and education, with 11 percent strongly agreeing that is available and only 6 percent saying it is affordable.
State legislatures have been very active in this area, introducing nearly 900 bills in 2015, of which 124 were enacted across 39 states.
To further address these issues and many more in the early childhood education realm, the fifth class of Early Learning Fellows will be meeting May 18-20 in Omaha, Neb. At this kickoff meeting, fellows will discuss topics including early brain development, pay-for-success options, child care and Nebraska’s Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan. Additionally, fellows will have an opportunity to work on creating their own early learning plan to take back to their state.
For more information, check out the Early Learning and Support webpage for links to policy briefs, legislative tracking, research, resources and news articles relating to kindergarten through third grade education issues, and the Early Care and Education webpage for birth-prekindergarten coverage.
Matt Weyer is a policy specialist in NCSL’s Education Program.