2022's States with the Best & Worst Early Education Systems
Wallet Hub, Aug 2, 2022
While good elementary schools, high schools and colleges are important factors for parents to consider when choosing where to settle down, the availability of quality pre-K education is just as crucial. Unfortunately, pre-school enrollment dropped by nearly 300,000 students during the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which experts say erased a decade of progress and increased educational inequality. While pre-K age children are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the distribution of the vaccine in general has made the school environment safer to return to.
Children enrolled in early education programs are more likely to be academically prepared for future grades, as well as have higher graduation rates and higher earning potential than those who are not enrolled, according to the National Education Association. In addition, those who attend pre-K programs have been shown to have less risk of future crime than those who do not. Plus, one estimate shows that every dollar invested in early education programs for disadvantaged families may generate $7.30 in economic benefits due to its impact on helping children grow up to be healthier, higher-earning adults.
To help parents find the states with the best early education systems, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics, including share of school districts that offer a state pre-K program, number of pre-K quality benchmarks met and total reported spending per child enrolled in pre-K.
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|Resources & Economic Support
|Share of 3- and 4-year-olds Enrolled in Pre-K, Pre-K Special Education and Head Start
|Total Reported Spending per Child Enrolled in Preschool
|Monthly Child Care Co-Payment Fees as a Percent of Family Income