The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical to brain development. Well before children go to kindergarten achievement gaps have already developed but high quality kindergarten programs can ensure three and four year olds behind in development catch up to their peers.
High quality learning programs for three and four year olds have lasting effects especially on children from low income families and can help reduce the cycle of poverty. So how is the US doing in terms of providing high quality early education? Mediocre at best.
The Childrens defense fund State of the Children in America 2014, a CDF publication has outlined among other things the best and worst states for early learning. The study shows that children enrolled in quality childhood programs are less likely to commit a crime.
No State has achieved an A grade in terms of outcomes but then again, no state has an overall F score either. The nation as a whole scores a C for outcomes
Best 10 states for Early Education in terms of outcomes
- New jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
Bottom 10 states
42. South Carolina
48. New Mexico
All 50 states were also ranked on level of participation based on enrollment. The nation earns a D+ and Idaho and Utah have failing grades.
Top 10 states in terms of enrollment in early education programs
- District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
Bottom 10 states
41. New Mexico
If you are thinking long term and are planning eventual progression to college, you should look at states with the best on time high school graduation rate. Click here for a full state-by-state ranking.
While these figures alone are not enough to tell the whole story, a lot goes into choosing the best place for you to raise your family.
What’s your view on the rankings for best and worst states for early childhood education?
first published at uschamberfoundation.org