Jackson, Mississippi—Mississippi First is proud to announce the release of its newest report, 2023 Public Perception of Early Childhood Education in Mississippi, which provides valuable insights into Mississippians’ views on the importance, affordability, and accessibility of early childhood education. The survey results underscore the widespread public support for pre-K and early learning initiatives across the state.

In 2023, Mississippi’s Early Learning Collaborative program celebrated an impressive milestone—its ten-year anniversary. Over the past decade, the program has expanded significantly, growing from 11 to 37 communities and providing 6,200 four-year-olds annually with access to high-quality pre-K education. Building on this success, Mississippi First broadened its early education focus in 2022 to encompass the wider early childhood education landscape.

As part of this wider focus, Mississippi First partnered with the Survey Research Lab at Mississippi State University to conduct a survey of a representative sample of 617 Mississippi adults through telephone interviews in June and July 2023. The findings reveal overwhelming support for early childhood education among Mississippians:

  • 94.7% agree or strongly agree that pre-K is crucial for preparing children for their future education.
  • 91.7% believe the state should fund pre-K programs.
  • 66.8% support state funding for early learning programs for children ages three and younger.
  • 54.8% agree that families currently have access to affordable pre-K (programs for four-year-olds), while only 49.1% feel that families currently have access to affordable early learning programs (programs for children ages three and younger).

“As we have long stated, Mississippians overwhelmingly believe in the importance of pre-K and strongly support the state’s investment in the education of four-year-olds through the early learning collaboratives,” said Rachel Canter, Executive Director of Mississippi First. “We are thrilled to see that Mississippians also show strong support for early learning for children ages three and younger and believe the state should invest in the education of this age group. For both pre-K and early learning, Mississippians’ strong support crosses demographic lines, including race, political affiliation, and income levels, reflecting a unified belief in the benefits of early education.”

Mississippi First remains committed to advocating policies that expand access to early education and enhance the quality of early learning programs in Mississippi. These survey results serve as a testament to Mississippians’ dedication to fostering the educational development of young children and shaping a brighter future for the state. Mississippi First encourages policymakers to study these results to understand how the public feels about early education and to reach out to Mississippi First about how the state can continue to provide better opportunities for our youngest learners.

Mississippi First is a non-partisan, nonprofit education policy and advocacy organization whose mission is to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child. We are a leading voice for high-quality early education, high-quality public charter schools, and access to highly effective teachers and leaders.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Mississippi First
Brooke Williams
Director of Communications