• Early Education

Our 2023 Public Perception of Early Childhood Education in Mississippi survey 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.

High-Level Findings

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 have access to affordable pre-K (programs for four-year-olds), while only 49.1% feel that families have access to affordable early learning programs (programs for children ages three and younger).


Micayla Tatum

Director of Early Childhood Policy

Micayla Tatum is the Director of Early Childhood Policy and the co-author of the third and fourth State of Pre-K brief that focuses on access to pre-K in 2017-2018. She also was the project lead for the development and publication of the pre-K data dashboard.


rachel canter

Rachel Canter

Executive Director

Rachel Canter is the Executive Director of Mississippi First and author of additional Mississippi First reports, including Leaving Last in Line, the State of Pre-K series, and Nothing in the Pipes: Educator Crisis in Mississippi (2020). Rachel founded Mississippi First in 2008.

Grace Breazeale

K-12 Policy Associate

Grace Breazeale is the K-12 Policy Associate at Mississippi First. She co-authored Eyeing the Exit and Falling Behind. She also publishes a monthly blog post dedicated to K-12 education policy in Mississippi.