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Survey: Most Idahoans want full-day kindergarten

Devin Bodkin02/01/2022

Another new statewide survey has captured Idahoans’ preference for expanding kindergarten offerings statewide.

Nearly three-fourths of Idahoans support more state funding for full-day kindergarten, according to polling results from the 2022 People’s Perspective.

The finding reflects results from another recent poll where a two-thirds majority of Idahoans support state-funded kinder: Boise State University’s annual Idaho Public Policy Survey, released earlier this week.

Both surveys accompany the Legislature’s possible consideration of expanding full-day offerings this session, along with support from top leaders.

Gov. Brad Little proposed an additional $47 million for early literacy, money that schools could use to cover extra costs for a full day of kindergarten. State superintendent Sherri Ybarra shared a $39 million plan to make full-day kindergarten available to at-risk students.

Like the Boise State survey, the People’s Perspective captured Idahoans’ views on other issues, from workforce preparation to school accountability. While most survey respondents support funding for full-day kinder, most say they would also question more spending on K-12 if it did not improve student learning.

Some key findings from the People’s Perspective:

Idahoans want state-funded full-day kindergarten. Seventy-three percent of survey respondents said they would support more state funding for full-day kinder. Only 27% said they would support keeping the state’s partial-day funding mechanism in place. Idahoans were more evenly split when it comes to funding for pre-K.

Strong support for standards and accountability. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would “look for other strategies if years of teacher salary increases and school budget hikes did not improve student achievement.” Seventy-four percent believe it’s a “good idea” to rate public schools.

Public schools can be better. Sixty-six percent of Idahoans surveyed said public schools are OK but could be better with some changes. Nearly 62% of respondents gave their schools grades of “C” or lower. Just 36% gave their local school an “A” or “B”. Seventy-six percent think it’s the state’s responsibility to enable poorer districts to compete with wealthier ones. Twenty-one percent think “inequalities in school funding are an unavoidable part of life.”

Idahoans remain comfortable with charter schools. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they believe charters offer a better education than traditional schools. Sixty-one percent said they favor sending their kids to charters or private schools over traditional schools if they could.

Go here for the survey’s other key findings.

Public opinion research firm The Farkas Duffett Research Group conducted the survey, which was facilitated by Idaho Education News and paid for by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

The FDR Group conducted 1,002 phone interviews with a randomly selected representative sample of Idaho adults at least 18 years old. It’s the fourth in a series of annual polls aimed at documenting attitudes about Idaho public education. Click here for the 2019 and 2017 surveys.

Disclosure: Idaho Education News is funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

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