October 20, 2014


Janae Hinson

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new poll conducted by the bipartisan team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research for the First Five Years Fund finds that Ohio voters view early childhood education as a priority issue for the state and nation. More than three in four Ohio voters (76 percent) say that investments in early childhood education programs would help Ohio’s economy. Additionally, overwhelming majorities of voters want to fund early learning programs and voluntary parental coaching with money from the state budget surpluses – including 66 percent of Cincinnati voters, 71 percent of Cleveland, Dayton and Columbus voters, and 72 percent of Toledo voters. Also significant is support among key voter demographic groups, including 75 percent of women aged 18-49 and 72 percent of women aged 50 and older.

Making sure children get a strong start in life is a high priority for 80 percent of Ohio voters, ranked second after increasing jobs and the economy and well ahead of reducing the tax burden on families. A solid majority of voters (57 percent) also say Ohio should be doing more to prepare children for kindergarten.

“It comes as no surprise that Ohio voters want greater investment in families and children,” said Tanny Crane, president and CEO of Crane Group, a private holding and management company based in Columbus. “Early childhood education is one of the most common sense, fiscally responsible solutions for better education, health and economic outcomes. Ohioans are right. Building a strong foundation for kids from birth to age five is a positive step in the right direction for our state.”

As of 2013, only 1 percent of 3-year-olds and 2 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in the Ohio Public Preschool Program in 2013. Voters know this isn’t enough. They feel that more can and should be done to help Ohio expand access to and increase quality of existing early childhood education programs. Nearly two-thirds of voters support a proposal that would increase federal investment to help states provide more access to high-quality early childhood programs for low- and moderate-income families – and 53 percent want Congress to act now.

Research from Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor James Heckman documents the outstanding economic return on investment from early childhood education. Investing in high-quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children early in life yields a 7-10 percent return – per child, per year – through improved education, health, social and economic outcomes as well as the reduced need for social spending.

“This growing momentum for early childhood education is astounding,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Kris Perry. “We’ve found that voters nationwide support investing in kids, but seeing that voters – in red and blue states alike – want these investments is even more encouraging. Ohio adds to the growing number of states demanding that Congress act on early childhood education. The time to act is now.”


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About the First Five Years Fund

The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all.