Kansas Among States With Worst Early Education Systems

Kansas is the state with the 45th worst early education system overall according to a new report. Kansas is ranked 50th overall for quality of early education.

With pre-school enrollment dropping by as much as 17% during the COVID-19 pandemic, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s States with the Best & Worst Early Education Systems.

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 include Alabama at #5, Maryland at #4, District of Columbia at #3, Nebraska at #2 and Arkansas comes in at #1.

What are the most important factors that influence a child’s educational development?
“Five factors influence child development the most: genetics, environment, health and nutrition, early access to high-quality childhood education, and family. The only factor we cannot influence is genetics, but all the others are in our power to change for better educational outcomes.
The family factors relate to parent’s education, family income, stability of home life, low exposure to toxic stress, early access to books and play materials.”
Irina Falls – Professor, University of North Carolina at Pembroke

“The factors that most strongly affect educational attainment take place before children ever enter a school building. If we want to help all our children do better, we need to pay greater attention to their families and early childhood programs. For example, parents differ in how much they talk with their children, expanding their vocabularies, and this predicts children’s later reading performance. High-quality early care and education programs predict children’s later school performance, and even their high school graduation rates and college attendance! Some school districts have noticed these facts and redirected some of their funds to high-quality, early childhood programs for parents and their 2-4-year-olds. Each dollar has its biggest positive impact in those earliest years.”
Dave Riley, Ph.D. – Rothermel-Bascom Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison