A new poll released this week found more than two-thirds of South Carolina voters support more state government involvement in early childhood education and also believe the state is not doing enough to properly prepare its children for school.
The poll was commissioned by the Institute for Child Success (ICS)– a nonprofit that works to better coordinate resources for pre-school children in South Carolina.
The poll surveyed 581 South Carolina voters last week and found that 69 percent said they are in favor of the state legislature’s recent expansion of four-year-old kindergarten for low-income children living in certain school districts. But 53 percent said they did not think South Carolina’s children are prepared for school by the time they begin kindergarten, compared to just 30 percent who believe they are.
“This poll was very encouraging for us, because it demonstrates that most South Carolinians are supportive of investing in young children,” ICS vice president Joe Waters told South Carolina Radio Network. “But most South Carolinians also believe that there’s more that needs to be done and they would support the state doing more.”
The poll by left-leaning Public Policy Polling surveyed roughly even numbers of self-identified Republicans and Democrats (38 percent and 37 percent, respectively), while 25 percent said they were either independent or another party. The results have a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.
It’s the second year that the Institute for Child Success has sponsored the poll. Last year, pollsters found 65 percent support for expanded 4K and 56 percent support for more state involvement in early childhood education (compared to 69 percent and 62 percent this year).
After four consecutive questions on early childhood education, respondents were then asked what they thought was the most challenging issue facing children aged 0-5 in South Carolina. Lack of access to pre-K had the most answers at 26 percent, while poverty and living in single-family households trailed slightly at 25 percent and 21 percent, respectively.