• • • • • • Education, Including Preschool, Is the Leading Issue
Voters rank improving Iowa’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 59% of low-income children are being served by preschool programs
in Iowa. That means over 20 thousand 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 in our state, and
help ensure more kids have an equal opportunity to succeed.”
• • • • • • 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.
Message Guidance for Candidates on Early Childhood Education
The six statements below are powerful messages that resonate with Iowa voters to support
new investments in early childhood education. At least 72% 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.
Policy That Advances High-Quality Early Childhood Education
• • • • • • SUMMARY: PRESCHOOL SHOULD BE UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE
A wide majority of Iowa voters want preschool to be accessible to all
families and not be a needs-based assistance program.
The proof: 68% of Iowa voters believe public education should start at pre-K
and be offered to all 4-year-olds. Only 7% say it should be offered to low-income kids,
and just 21% think it should not be part of public schools.
The following are policy proposals that Iowa 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.
Parents have a right to know the child care they use provides a safe, quality environment
for their children. Only 2% of childcare homes and programs in Iowa are nationally accredited.
I want to provide children and families with a safe learning environment, qualified professional
teachers, and the age-appropriate learning opportunities that come with accredited facilities.
As Governor, I would encourage tax incentives so these facilities can become accredited.
Only 59% of low-income children are being served by preschool programs in Iowa. That means
over 20,000 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 in our state, and help ensure more kids have an
equal opportunity to succeed.
In Iowa, it should pay to work hard. I support changing the way childcare assistance works so that
we can end the cycle of poverty. Families that reach a certain income level get cut off from any
childcare assistance. Instead of a strict cutoff, I believe we should gradually lower the amount of
assistance families get so they still have help with childcare costs, enabling them to get out of
poverty and move into the middle class.
Less than 1% of new and at-risk mothers are getting the services they need. The State of Iowa
can assist families and help parents by providing home visiting programs to vulnerable parents in
need. In addition to programs with nurses who help pregnant adolescents and new mothers who
are at risk for health problems during their pregnancy, Iowa has a program called Parentivity—an
online virtual voluntary home visitation system that connects low-income parents with virtual
mentors and resources. We currently reach less than 1% of the families who need these programs,
and I support expanding this to reach more families and young mothers, so our children’s parents
can parent better.
• • • • • • DID YOU KNOW?
Voters Want Investments in Early Education, Even if It Means a Slight Tax Increase
Sixty-three 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 63%, Republican primary voters are more likely to support
this policy by 41%, and Democratic primary voters support it by 89%.
What Iowa Voters are Saying