NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Few States Earn High Marks for Early Education

January 8, 2002

A report out today says that while states are showing great interest in preparing children for learning at the kindergarten or pre-kindergarten levels, huge gaps exist in the quality of education. Education Week's "Quality Counts 2002" report gives states an overall "C" in their early-learning efforts.

Many educators place great emphasis on early education -- believing that it really matters in determining whether a student succeeds later in school.

  • Only three states -- New York, Maryland and Kentucky -- were awarded "A" for having clear and specific standards and accountability in all core subjects in all grades, and regularly testing students.
  • Although no state earned an "A" for improving the quality of teachers, North Carolina and Connecticut got "B-pluses" for regularly testing teachers, providing professional training and requiring that teachers hold degrees in the subject they teach.
  • Nearly all states earned passing grades for adequate spending per student -- with New Jersey and Wyoming topping the list, and California, Utah and Arizona failing.

The report uses 80 points to compare education policy in all states and the District of Columbia.

Source: Karen Thomas, "Report Grades States' Early Education Policies," USA Today, January 8, 2002.


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