- Deseret News - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Preschool education might not be for everyone.

Our own Eric Schulzke reported on the national debate over universal pre-K education for children in November 2014.

Some, like President Barack Obama, have openly endorsed universal pre-K because it helps set children on a path toward life and career success, Shulzke reported.

“Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education,” Mr. Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union address.

But others have spoken out against it. Mr. Schulzke’s article pointed to David Armor, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, who said that preschool education can be too costly.

The difference in opinion over pre-K education can be seen across different states, too. Some states fund more preschool programs than others, while other states don’t fund preschool education at all.

The National Institute for Early Education Research released a report this week called “The State of Preschool,” which broke down how much financial support and access each state has for preschool education.

The report also looked at how many 3- and 4-year-old children are enrolled in pre-kindergarten in the state and how much access these children have to preschool education.

Here’s a look at the states and locations that have the best access for preschool education.

1. District of Columbia

The report said that 82.9 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in the nation’s capital are enrolled in pre-K education.

2. Vermont

Vermont is full of trees and maple syrup, but it’s also where children like to attend preschool. The report says that 58.7 percent of Vermont’s youngsters enroll in pre-K education.

3. Florida

Florida isn’t just home to retirees. The report says that 39.7 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in the state enroll in pre-K education. Florida doesn’t have any program for just 3-year-olds.

4. Oklahoma

The report says that 38.2 percent of Oklahoma’s youngsters enroll in pre-K education. Like Florida, the state doesn’t have pre-K education for just 3-year-olds.

5. West Virginia

The preschool report says 40.3 percent of West Virginia’s 3- and 4-year-olds attend pre-K education. The state also has a significantly high amount of 5-year-olds who attend, according to the report.

6. Wisconsin

Those cheeseheads are getting their education in early, as 33.6 percent of the state’s 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool.

7. Georgia

Georgia’s where the peaches grow, and where youngsters attend preschool, too. The report said 30.1 percent of the state’s 3- and 4-year-olds attend pre-K schools.

8. Iowa

Iowa’s parents embrace pre-K education, with 31.9 percent of the state’s youngsters attending pre-K.

9. Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially the amount of children attending pre-K. The report said that 28.9 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool.

10. New York

Not many of New York City’s 3-year-olds attend preschool (0.1 percent, in fact), but the state’s overall number of enrolled 3- and 4-year-olds rests at 21.7 percent.

11. South Carolina

South Carolina isn’t far behind New York, as 22.7 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool in the Palmetto State.

12. Arkansas

Arkansas ranks 12th on the list, with the majority of its young students enrolling at 5 years old. The report said 25.3 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool.

13. Maryland

Not far from D.C., which leads the list, Maryland has 20.2 percent of its kiddos attending preschool. Maryland doesn’t have any preschool programs for 3-year-olds.

14. Maine

In Maine, 17.7 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in school. The state does not have a program just for 3-year-olds.

15. Louisiana

Like Maryland, Louisiana doesn’t have any program for just 3-year-olds. But the state does boast high numbers for 4-year-olds, reaching a total of 15.9 percent for 3- and 4-year-olds.

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