• • • • • •    Education, Including Preschool, Is the Leading Issue

Voters rank improving Colorado’s education system—including preschool—as an
“extremely or very high priority,” EVEN when compared to other popular issues.

 

 

• • • • • •    Voters Agree: The Early Years Are Important

Voters recognize the vital role education can play in the early years of development, saying ages
0 to 5 are important, with a majority of voters recognizing that these years are “extremely important.”

• • • • • •    Voters Support Expanding Preschool

An overwhelming majority of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who said this about preschool:
“Only 54 percent of low-income children are being served by preschool programs in Colorado. That means over 29,000
low-income kids who could benefit most from high-quality early education have no access to pre-kindergarten.
I want to expand funding so at least the lowest-income 4-year-olds who want to attend preschool have access.”

• • • • • •    Child Care: A Bipartisan Issue

There is strong bipartisan agreement on changing child care assistance. Majorities of both parties
agree they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who would change how state-funded child care
assistance works and end the strict income cutoff to benefits.

 

 

The six statements below are powerful messages that resonate with Colorado voters to support
new investments in early childhood education. At least 65 percent of voters say these statements
are convincing arguments in favor of early childhood care and education.

Below are the top three messages ranked in order of most powerful for each target audience
of voters, color coded to correspond with the message chart.

 

 

• • • • • •   SUMMARY: PRESCHOOL SHOULD BE UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE

A wide majority of Colorado voters want preschool to be accessible to all
families and not be a needs-based assistance program. 

The proof: 58 percent of Colorado voters believe public education should start at pre-K
and be offered to all 4-year-olds.Only 8 percent say it should be offered to low-income kids,
and just 29 percent think it should not be part of public schools.

The following are policy proposals that Colorado voters overwhelmingly support to expand
preschool and invest in early childhood education, ranked in order of popularity. The total
percentage is the sum of voters who are “much more” or “somewhat more likely” to vote for a
candidate who advocates for these policies during his or her campaign.

 

Only 54 percent of low-income children are being served by preschool programs in Colorado.
That means over 29,000 low-income kids who could benefit most from high-quality early
education have no access to pre-kindergarten. I want to expand funding so at least the lowest
-income 4-year-olds who want to attend preschool have access.

Families that reach a certain income level get cut off from any child care assistance. I’m
committed to ending the cycle of poverty, and as governor, I would change how state-funded
child care assistance works. Instead of a strict cutoff, I propose we gradually lower the amount
of assistance families get so they still have help with child care costs. In Colorado, it should pay to
work hard, and I support changing the way this works to enable families to get out of poverty and
move into the middle class. 

Less than 2 percent of vulnerable parents in Colorado who need help are getting the services
they require. The state of Colorado can assist families and help parents by providing home
visiting programs to vulnerable parents in need, such as the Nurse Family Partnership, which
connects nurses with first-time, low-income mothers to educate them on parenting, share
resources, and perform health checks from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. I
support expanding this to reach more families so our children’s parents can parent better. 

Of Colorado’s $6.4 billion education budget, only 1.6 percent is spent on preschool programs,
but studies show that 90 percent of brain development occurs in the first five years. In Denver,
they have solved the gap in preschool funding through a city sales tax to help more children
attend preschool. I support expanding our funding of preschool programs to double what our
state is spending and encourage other cities to use a sales tax to help fund preschool for
4-year-olds around the state and give our children a better start.

 

 

• • • • • •   DID YOU KNOW?

Voters Want Investments in Early Education, Even if It Means a Slight Tax Increase

Sixty-six percent of voters said they would support a candidate that came out in FAVOR of
investing in high-quality early childhood education programs and child care, even if it meant a
slight tax increase. Among the 66 percent, Republican primary voters are more likely to support
this policy by 37 percent, and Democratic primary voters support it by 83 percent.