Nearly three-fourths of Utahns want the Legislature to extend early education efforts, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.
But they are less certain about extending the current half-day kindergarten to a full day, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates.
The Legislature has been talking for years about the benefits of early education, with most local and national experts saying some children are ready for formal education at 3 and four years old while others say five-year-olds can take a full day of kindergarten – now offered at half-a-day in most Utah public schools.
Jones finds that 73 percent of Utahns want early childhood education programs at least offered.
Twenty-two percent oppose that idea.
On the question of full-day kindergarten, 50 percent say they want it while 44 percent oppose.
Utah is already doing some early childhood education online, as reported in this Washington Post story.
Already this general session several bills are being prepared on these topics – including HB42.
Across the various demographics there is majority support for better early childhood programs, Jones finds:
66 percent of Republicans like the idea.
80 percent of political independents.
94 percent of Democrats say yes.
But there are more questions about extending half-day kindergarten to full day.
Republicans are against the plan, 50-46 percent.
Independents are barely in favor, 51-43 percent.
Democrats like it, 64-26 percent.
Finally, more than 80 percent of the Legislature are active members of the Mormon Church – which has traditional teachings on family, like moms staying home with their children if they can afford it.
Jones finds that 68 percent of “very active” Mormons favor state-sponsored early childhood education, 27 percent oppose.
While 52 percent of active Mormons oppose extending kindergarten to a full day, 44 percent support that idea.
Jones polled 622 adults from Dec. 8-14, the poll’s margin of error being plus or minus 3.93 percent.