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Early Education Systems in D.C., Maryland Among Best in U.S.: Report

D.C. and Maryland are in the top tier when it comes to the nation’s early education programs, according to a newly released report by personal finance website WalletHub.

The report, titled “2021’s States with the Best & Worst Early Education Systems,” compared the country’s 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics in order to determine the best early education systems in America.

Based on an aggregated score determined by access, quality, resources and economic support, the District and Maryland were ranked third and fourth overall, respectively, topped only by Arkansas and Nebraska, WalletHub reported.

Virginia finished 27th, though the state was ranked fourth in overall quality.

D.C. also tied with New Jersey for the highest total reported spending per child enrolled in preschool and with California for the lowest monthly child care co-payment fees as a percent of family income.

The District also had the second-highest share of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, pre-K special education and Head Start, trailing only Vermont, WalletHub said.

The WalletHub report cited research by the National Institute for Early Education Research showing that students enrolled in full-day pre-K programs do better on math and literacy tests than their peers who attend only partial-day preschool, as well as having less risk of future crime.

“Five factors influence child development the most: genetics, environment, health and nutrition, early access to high-quality childhood education, and family,” said Irina Falls, a professor of educational leadership and specialties at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and one of the experts cited in the WalletHub report. “The only factor we cannot influence is genetics, but all the others are in our power to change for better educational outcomes.”

Click here to view the full report.

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