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Nebraskans View Early Care as Critical to Children's Success

by Stephanie Marken and Valerie J. Calderon

Story Highlights

  • Nebraskans say early care has a lot of impact on long-term success
  • Nebraskans negative about accessibility, affordability of early care in state

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The vast majority (68%) of Nebraskans believe early care and education has "a lot" of impact on the long-term success of students in school and in life. Approximately one-quarter (26%) of Nebraskans say early care and education has "some" impact on students' long-term success in school and life, while only 6% see little or no effect from this early childhood educational experience. These results are from a survey conducted in Nebraska for the first time in the U.S.

Based on what you have seen or heard, how much impact does early childhood care and education have on the long-term success of students in school and in life?
Impact of care/education on success%
A lot 68
Some 26
Not much 5
None at all 1
Buffett Early Childhood Institute/Gallup Survey on Early Childhood Care and Education in Nebraska, 2015

This study, from the Buffett Early Childhood Institute/Gallup Survey on Early Childhood Care and Education in Nebraska, is the largest of its kind in the state. It could serve as an example for other states to uncover attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about the early years and the importance of high-quality care and education for young children across the nation. The study was conducted Aug. 27-Sept. 30, 2015, with a random sample of approximately 7,200 Nebraska residents.

The first eight years of a child's life are critical for influencing the trajectory of his or her future. Early childhood -- defined for this study as birth to age 8 -- is a period of rapid brain development during which children acquire language, form relationships for the first time, build character and develop cognitive skills.

Nebraskans Raise Concerns About Access to High-Quality Care

Nearly twice as many Nebraska residents strongly disagree (21%) as strongly agree (11%) that high-quality early childcare and education is available to all families in their state. Even greater differences exist between those who strongly disagree and those who strongly agree that high-quality early care and education is affordable for all families in the state: 30% strongly disagree that such care is affordable, compared with 6% who strongly agree.

On a 5-point scale, where 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following items: High-quality early childhood care and education is
1 - Strongly disagree% 2% 3% 4% 5 - Strongly agree%
Available to every family in Nebraska 21 20 32 15 11
Affordable for every family in Nebraska 30 29 28 7 6
BUFFETT EARLY CHILDHOOD INSTITUTE/GALLUP SURVEY ON EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION IN NEBRASKA, 2015

When presented with various challenges facing families in obtaining high-quality care and education, Nebraskans are most likely to say cost is the largest challenge, with 35% reporting it as the biggest challenge facing families in obtaining care. Fourteen percent identify transportation to and from these care settings as the foremost challenge to obtaining high-quality care, closely followed by limited hours of operation (12%). The smallest percentage, 7%, identify low-quality care as the top challenge.

Following are challenges some families face in getting high-quality early childhood care and education for their young child(ren). Please rank the following challenges from 1 to 5, where 1 represents the smallest challenge and 5 represents the biggest challenge.
Don't know% 1 - Smallest challenge% 2% 3% 4% 5 - Biggest challenge%
Programs are too expensive 18 3 5 17 22 35
Transportation problems 19 11 12 23 21 14
Hours of operation not flexible enough 22 12 14 22 19 12
Too few programs available 22 10 14 28 16 10
Programs are of low or poor quality 24 8 16 31 15 7
Buffett Early Childhood Institute/Gallup Survey on Early Childhood Care and Education in Nebraska, 2015

Implications

Results from the Buffett Institute/Gallup Survey indicate many Nebraskans recognize the important role that quality early childhood care and education plays in the future of young children, but they also report that this care is not accessible to all families in their state. Young children who enter kindergarten ready to learn are best positioned for success in school and in life. There is room to improve in Nebraska, and in the nation at large, to ensure that all young children in every state have access to high-quality care so that their first steps in life give them the very best chance at a great job and a great life.

Read the full report.

Survey Methods

Results for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute/Gallup Survey on Early Childhood Care and Education in Nebraska are based on surveys conducted by mail from Aug. 27-Sept. 30, 2015, with a random sample of 7,191 Nebraska residents aged 18 and older, currently living in the state. Gallup selected the sample of Nebraska residents using address-based-sampling (ABS). Gallup sampled respondents within the household based on which household member would have the next birthday. The survey package included an English and Spanish survey to provide respondents with the flexibility to reply in their preferred language. Data are weighted to match State of Nebraska demographics of gender, age, education, race and Hispanic ethnicity.

For results based on the total sample of adults in the state, the margin of sampling error is ±1.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Gallup


Gallup http://news.gallup.com/poll/190346/nebraskans-view-early-care-critical-children-success.aspx
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