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Trump and Clinton Supporters Can Unite on One Thing: The Importance of Early Education

Trump and Clinton Supporters Can Unite on One Thing: The Importance of Early Education

Respective supporters of the presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential candidates might have very little in common this election year, but there is one thing they can agree on.

According to a recently released poll from the First Five Years Fund (FFYF), both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters agree that investing in early education is a solution to the country’s problems.

"Key voter groups want the federal government to help states and local communities improve access to quality early childhood education--this includes 85 percent of Hispanics, 79 percent of suburban women, 65 percent of moderate/liberal Republicans, and 58 percent of Republican women,” said FFYF in a statement.

An overwhelming majority of respondents said they believe early learners are starting kindergarten behind thanks to a lack of quality early childhood education programs available on a state-by-state basis.

Overall, 72 percent of respondents "say that ages one to five are the most important for learning.”

This news about the bipartisan nature of early education comes just a week after a first-of-its-kind study revealed that early educators are struggling to make ends meet in every single state.

As the lowest paid professionals in the educator workforce, early educators typically require state aid to get by. And despite the fact that qualifications for early educators are steadily increasing (although many states still do not require a Bachelor’s degree), their pay is not.

According to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley, the median wage for early educators is just $9.77 an hour.

Moving forward, the CSCCE says policy should focus on educational requirements, creating compensation and benefit guidelines to ultimately raise early educator pay, and starting an educator workforce data to "gain a meaningful assessment of the reach and effectiveness of education and training opportunities and other supports for the workforce.”

In other words, voters are right to be concerned but their unity across party lines is promising, especially giving the polarizing nature of politics at the moment.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

7/12/2016

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