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The map shows the states with the best and worst early childhood education programs

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Where parents live has a significant impact on how accessible, affordable, and accessible quality early childhood education programs are to the growing minds of their children. There is a possibility. There is no doubt that the pandemic’s disruption to early childhood education and childcare programs has led to industry-wide problems. It can be very stressful for parents trying to navigate a patchwork of programs.

For parents wondering how their condition compares to others, wallet hub We’ve determined the best and worst states for early childhood education programs.

First things first: according to wallet hubpreschool enrollment declined by about 300,000 students during the 2020-21 school year.

Research shows that 3- and 4-year-olds are attending pre-school. Children who attend preschool or early childhood education programs are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and perform better on tests than other students in the short term. In the US, every $1 she spends on preschool saves about $10. In other words, pre-K works.

Other research suggests that early education programs can help by providing children with health benefits, such as diet, immunizations, and health services that screen for vision and hearing problems, among other health conditions. I’m here.

Still, early education programs are not the same across the country. Because there is very little federal funding for the program. There is some funding, but not enough funding to make this industry (defined by high operating costs and very thin profit margins) affordable to many American parents.

Universal child care and preschool programs were proposed as part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan. The program would have poured millions of dollars into childcare centers, preschool programs, and workers, keeping costs down for parents.

Without a major federal plan, some states value these programs more than others (aka money). yes, wallet hub I wanted to know how each state was fighting the others.

To rank states, wallet hub We compared all 50 states to the District of Columbia using three key factors: access, This includes, for example, the percentage of school districts that offer state preschool programs, the number of eligible children, and waiting list prevalence. quality State pre-kindergarten qualifications, school safety plans, and income requirements for audits, among other factors, were also considered. The third indicator is resources and economic support, This includes the amount of money spent per child enrolled in school, the amount of money spent by the state on Head Start programs per child, and the percentage of family income spent on child care.

Interestingly, no single state holds the top spot in every category. Still, there are some attractive points. For example, Minnesota has the lowest state pre-K qualification top income requirement of $9,155, which is 4.6 times lower than North Carolina’s $42,482. That means families can earn up to $42,482 in North Carolina and access state-run pre-kindergarten programs. (Not surprisingly, the Minnesota program ranks much lower than the North Carolina program.)

Here are the best states for early childhood education programs in general:

1. Arkansas

2. Nebraska

3. Maryland

4. District of Columbia

5. Rhode Island

6. Alabama

7. Oregon

8. Vermont

9. West Virginia

10. New Mexico

Here are the states with the worst early childhood education programs:

42. Wyoming

43. South Dakota

44. New York

45. Idaho

46. ​​Montana

47. New Hampshire

48. Minnesota

49. Missouri

50. North Dakota

51. Indiana

If you want to know where your state sits on the list and where it stands on all the key metrics, check out our full report below. wallet hub.