Survey of Seattle parents finds wide support for high-quality, affordable preschool


Council President Tim Burgess

Survey of Seattle parents finds wide support for high-quality, affordable preschool

SEATTLECity Council heard findings today demonstrating wide support for elements included in the Seattle Preschool Program based on a survey of over 1,300 Seattle parents. Conducted by EMC Research, the survey found 96% of the parents believe that every child should have the opportunity for high-quality preschool regardless of family income, and 90% agree that government should help families pay for high-quality preschool.

The survey also found only 33% of parents had their children in full time preschool and Hispanics, African-Americans, and parents living in lower income communities were less likely to have sent their children to preschool.

"We found that, regardless of background or neighborhood, affordability and quality are what parents most want in a preschool program, which directly aligns with the outcomes the Seattle Preschool Program will deliver," said Council President Tim Burgess. "Closing the opportunity gap for those most in need should be a top priority."

The survey was conducted to obtain substantive input from a wide range of parents and guardians. The Council also sought to discover why the respondents’ children do or do not attend preschool and how many of those whose children do not currently attend preschool would likely enroll their children if high-quality preschool were available and affordable. The survey, authorized by City Council Resolution 31478, was part of a comprehensive outreach strategy to inform the development of the Seattle Preschool Program, which included input from stakeholder workgroups and other feedback from the community.

The findings were based on a live telephone survey of 1,301 of parents/guardians with children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade enrolled in Seattle Public Schools conducted March 4-23, 2014. The margin of error for the overall results is ±2.7 percentage points at a 95% confidence interval. Unlike most surveys of only 400 or so residents surveyed in English, this preschool survey surveyed three times that number and conducted interviews in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali and Cantonese. Nearly one-third (32%) of the respondents were born outside of the United States.

The complete poll results are available here.

[View in Council Newsroom]

National experts present new research on benefits of high-quality universal preschool; Council Committee readies for report on early learning gaps in Seattle


Council President Tim Burgess

National experts present new research on benefits of
high-quality universal preschool;
Council Committee readies for report on early learning gaps in Seattle

SeattleCity Council heard more compelling evidence yesterday from national experts on the immediate and long-term benefits for children and society when cities invest in high-quality preschool. While national expert Dr. Steven Barnett presented similar preschool benefits to the Council in June 2013, Monday’s presentation by Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Dr. Christina Weiland further validates those benefits with the most recent research.

  • For each $1 invested in high-quality preschool, society can reap up to $5 in return.
  • Children make larger gains when quality is higher, as seen with:
    • Evidence-based curricula proven to produce social-emotional and learning gains
    • Warm, responsive teacher-child interactions
    • Teachers encouraging children to speak – "serve and return" conversation.
  • Both low-income and middle-income children benefit with school readiness and longer-term outcomes.

Supporting Documents:

  1. New Research on the Benefits of Universal Preschool
  2. Executive Summary — Evidence Base on Preschool Education
  3. Evidence Base on Preschool Education
  4. Boston Universal Preschool Video
  5. Boston Universal Preschool Study

The new research from the professors lays the groundwork for Wednesday’s Council Committee discussion of early learning gaps in Seattle.

WHAT: Gap Analysis and Draft Outreach Strategy of Preschool for All

WHEN: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 5 (preschool items likely starting at 10:00 a.m.)

WHERE: City Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 2nd Fl, 600 Fourth Ave, Seattle

WHO: Council’s Education & Governance Committee, the City’s Office for Education, and BERK Consulting

The City Council requested the Gap Analysis when it unanimously adopted its preschool Resolution 31478 on September 23, 2013. That Resolution establishes the city’s goal of offering high-quality, affordable preschool to all three- and four-year olds in Seattle and calls for an Action Plan to get it done.

Several jurisdictions, including Boston, San Francisco, the State of Oklahoma, the State of West Virginia, and 31 local districts in New Jersey, are already implementing high-quality preschool open to all children and, according to independent studies, the participating children are achieving the intended positive outcomes. Seattle’s Preschool for All efforts will determine the feasibility of achieving similar social justice, early learning impacts throughout our city.

Supporting Documents:

  1. Gap Analysis Report with Appendix
  2. Outreach Strategy draft
  3. Outreach handout

More information can be found at the City Council’s preschool website:

[View in Council Newsroom]