The states with the best and worst early childhood ed. programs. How did Pa. do? | Tuesday Coffee
The Keystone State finished 12th nationwide for the share of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, pre-K Special Education and Head Start, according to a new report.
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Just a couple of weeks remain before Pennsylvania’s students return to the classroom. And, as is the case every year, a coterie of the state’s littlest learners will be making that first foray into the classroom.
Research clearly shows that access to quality early childhood education is critical to future success, not only in school, but in life, as well.
Students with access to those programs exhibit higher levels of proficiency in math and reading; they’re less likely to be held back in the primary grades and more likely to graduate high school; they need less remediation, and there’s less of a need for individual education plans, often formulated for struggling students.
Students who get an early head start also are at less risk of future crime than those who do not. They also end up earning more than students who do not have the same opportunities.
With that in mind, analysts at the financial literacy website WalletHub compared the programs of all 50 states and Washington D.C. using 12 key metrics. They included the share of districts that offered a pre-k program, as well as the share of students who actually enrolled. The report also measured the resources and economic support for such programs.
Below, a look at the Top 5 best and worst states, as well as how Pennsylvania stacked up.
The Top 5 States with the Best Programs:
3. Washington D.C.
The Top 5 States with the Worst Programs:
2. North Dakota
Pennsylvania finished 38th in the WalletHub ranking list, the same place it finished in a similar rankings list released in August 2019.
The $40.8 billion state budget that lawmakers approved, and Gov. Tom Wolf signed in June, included a $30 million increase in early childhood education funding. The hike will allow an additional 3,270 children statewide to enroll in state-supported programs.
“Early childhood education programs set students up for success,” Wolf said during a July 19 news conference in Reading touting the increased funding. “When our children are successful in school and beyond, that sets our commonwealth up for success, too. That’s why I’ve fought so hard to support early learning in Pennsylvania – doubling its investment – and this year’s budget increased our investment in quality early childhood education once again.”
According to the WalletHub analysis, Pennsylvania finished:
- 12th nationwide for its share of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, pre-K Special Education and Head Start
- 24th for its income requirement for state pre-K eligibility
- 25th for its total reported spending-per-child enrolled in preschool
- 4th for its total state Head Start Program spending per-child enrolled in pre-school and
- 38th for its monthly childcare co-payment fees as a percentage of family income.
“Dollar for dollar, the biggest positive impact on children’s futures is for dollars spent on the early childhood years from ages 1 to 5 before children even enter the school system,” Dave Riley, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told WalletHub.
“Some school districts have begun to redirect some of their funds into high-quality, early childhood programs for parents and their preschoolers. These programs lead to much better school achievement later,” he concluded.
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Tuesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link
Former Barcelona star Lionel Messi will formally seal the deal on a two-year contract with Paris St. Germain, sending him to Ligue 1 after a history-making tenure in La Liga. The Guardian has the details on the widely anticipated move.
And now you’re up to date.
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