With pre-K enrollment dropping by nearly 300,000 students last year, which hurt educational progress and increased inequality, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2022’s States with the Best & Worst Early Education Systems, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.
In order to determine the best early education systems in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics. The data set ranges from share of school districts that offer a state pre-K program to number of pre-K quality benchmarks met and total reported spending per child enrolled in pre-K.
|States with the Best Early Education Systems||States with the Worst Early Education Systems|
|1. Arkansas||42. Wyoming|
|2. Nebraska||43. South Dakota|
|3. Maryland||44. New York|
|4. District of Columbia||45. Idaho|
|5. Rhode Island||46. Montana|
|6. Alabama||47. New Hampshire|
|7. Oregon||48. Minnesota|
|8. Vermont||49. Missouri|
|9. West Virginia||50. North Dakota|
|10. New Mexico||51. Indiana|
Best vs. Worst
- 13 states, such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina, have the highest share of school districts that offer a state pre-K program, 100 percent, which is 9.1 times higher than in New Jersey, the state with the lowest at 11.00 percent.
- The District of Columbia has the highest share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, pre-K Special Education and Head Start programs, 88.20 percent, which is 7.5 times higher than in Idaho, the state with the lowest at 11.70 percent.
- North Carolina has the highest income requirement for state pre-K eligibility, $42,482, which is 4.6 times higher than in Minnesota, which has one of the lowest at $9,155.
- The District of Columbia has the highest total spending per child enrolled in preschool, $19,228, which is 45.8 times higher than in North Dakota, which has one of the lowest at $420.
- The District of Columbia, Maryland and Idaho have some of the lowest monthly child care co-payment fees (as share of family income), 1 percent, which is 26 times lower than in Hawaii, the state with the highest at 26 percent.