Quality Counts 2015: Early Education

The latest annual Quality Counts from Education Week examines issues and forces shaping early-childhood education, and how new academic and accountability demands are changing early-childhood education for administrators, teachers, and children. It includes an Early Education Index that analyzes data through 2013 to portray state participation in early-childhood programming, preschool, and kindergarten, with a specific emphasis on low-income families. The nation as a whole received a grade of D-plus for early-childhood education, which varies dramatically across states, spans public and private sectors, and falls under a patchwork of programs, institutions, and laws. The report also graded states overall on education: The nation as a whole gets a C. Massachusetts topped the ranking with a B, followed by New Jersey, Maryland, and Vermont, in that order. Wyoming reached the top 10 for the first time with a B-minus. Mississippi fell last with a D; New Mexico and Nevada were only slightly higher. On spending alone, the U.S. dedicated an average of $11,735 per pupil. Vermont topped the spending list at $18,882, with Utah at the bottom with $6,688. In terms of equity, the nation overall got a B. Alaska was the only state that gave more funding to property-poor districts than wealthier ones. Notably, individual states simultaneously earned widely differing scores on spending and equity. Florida, for example, was second in equitable distribution of funding, but 46th in spending. Vermont, though first in spending, was 45th in equity.

We need to identify the causes of why Wyoming was able to rise to the top ten.