The Citizen - Page 6

Page |6 Education pre-K programs The 2013 survey found wide support Comparison in the ratings by White, for Pre-K education programs. This African-American residents trend continues in the most recent survey and provides better context 100% by examining attitudes specifically 89% 89% 90% towards programs for children ages two and younger, programs for 76% children ages three to five, and equal 80% 74% 71% access for low income families. The 70% survey indicates a higher percentage of Sangamon County residents 60% believe that programs for children 48% three to five years old are “very 50% important” compared to programs 40% for children ages two and younger, yet a majority of respondents report 30% that both types of programs are either “very important” or 20% “somewhat important.” When asked how important, if at all, it is for 10% children from all income levels to have access to pre-K services, 92 0% Programs for Programs for Equal access for percent of survey respondents children, 2 or children, 3 to 5 less advantaged report it is important. On all three younger families items, African-Americans report a White respondents African-American respondents higher level of support than white respondents (see figure). KEY FINDINGS:  While Sangamon County residents believe pre-K programs are important for all age groups and support equal access for less advantaged families, there is mixed support for what public or private organization(s) should be providing less advantaged families with access to pre-K programs. Thirty-eight percent of individuals believe it is the “entire community’s responsibility,” 32 percent believe it is the responsibility of the individual families, and 21 percent believe it is the responsibility of the local school district.  Of the roughly 8,000 Sangamon County children ages three to five, an estimated 2,000 (25 percent) are less advantaged.1 Existing programs, including Early Start, which is Springfield Public School District’s Preschool for All program, and the eight Head Start sites in the county, appear to reach about two-thirds of this population. 1 Data is available through Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s population projections.