Source: Education NC
A new survey reveals that a majority of North Carolinians want child care investments, and view the lack of accessible child care as a serious problem.
The survey, from The NC Chamber Foundation, found that nine in 10 voters say taking action to ensure that more working families have access to affordable, quality child care should be an important priority this year.
The survey also found that across political lines, nine in 10 voters were concerned about low wages for teachers and workers, the cost of child care, and the challenges of balancing child care and work.
“Lack of quality, affordable child care is causing parents to leave the workforce or turn down opportunities — exacerbating the state’s labor shortage and threatening business and economic growth,” the NC Chamber Foundation wrote in the executive summary of the survey findings.
In addition, the survey also found:
- 74% of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 84% of Democrats agreed that child care is essential to the economic success of North Carolina and families who live here.
- 76% of Republicans, 86% of Independents, and 97% of Democrats agreed that improving the quality of child care and making it more affordable for families is a good investment.
- 80% of respondents support Increasing state funding to provide more working families with access to affordable, high-quality child care.
The survey findings come as state Republicans refuse to move the needle around implementing The Leandro Remedial Plan, which lays a blueprint for expanding affordable child care, early childhood education, increasing teacher pay, and much more.
Furthermore, the latest proposed state budgets coming from Republicans in the General Assembly highlight their own priorities; expanding their controversial private school voucher program and giving educators piecemeal raises.
State Republican lawmakers’ priorities are in stark contrast to their constituents, as more than two-thirds of Republican voters support increasing state funding for affordable, high-quality child care, according to the survey.
“Across the partisan spectrum in the state, we’ve got a vast majority telling us that they connect access to quality, affordable child care with our ability to strengthen the economy,” Lori Weigel of New Bridge Strategy stated during a presentation of the survey. “I think that’s why we see people really telling us this is not just important but an urgent problem.”
Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed state budget hits on the urgency of child care accessibility, making recommendations to support child care and early childhood education needs across the state.
The governor’s proposal would deliver funding towards child care stabilization grants to maintain accessible and affordable early childhood education, in addition to increasing child care subsidy rates in rural and lower wealth communities across the state.
These historic investments recommended by the governor are in part to support North Carolina families, ensure students have access to quality education and further enrich the economy for generations to come.
“We are at a historic moment with an unprecedented opportunity to make ‘once-in-a-generation’ investments in our future,” Governor Cooper stated in a press release. “North Carolina has built on our success to strengthen our place as first in opportunity, and we will continue that growth only by making sound investments in our families, workforce, schools and communities. Let’s take advantage of our unlimited potential to make sure every North Carolinian can thrive.”