Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: Where Does Early Childhood Education Fit Within Our National Priorities?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll addressed where quality early education falls within U.S. priorities and goals.

The topic of early childhood education has always been important to certain groups in the United States. But recently it has received more widespread discussion as the government and business leaders have joined together to request that more attention be paid to the topic. This week's question was spurred on by a new poll by the First Five Years Fund (PDF) that shows that "[v]oters across the country rated ensuring that children get a strong start with early childhood education as second in priority only to increasing jobs and economic growth [as a national goal]." (Source: The Washington Post.) We asked ASCD SmartBrief readers their thoughts to see if they have the same goals for the United States.

The ASCD SmartBrief readers who responded to the survey indicated that increasing jobs and economic growth (51 percent) was the number one priority for the country. And, as in the Hart Research poll cited above, these educators reported that making sure all children get a strong start through quality early education (15 percent) was the second most important national goal. This was followed by improving the quality of our public schools (11 percent). Access to quality health care for low-income families (9 percent) and reducing taxes for families (9 percent) were chosen next most often, with securing the borders (4 percent) and access to affordable child care (2 percent) being the items selected least often.

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 521 readers, starting on September 26, 2013. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.

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