ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State is ranked 44th in the nation for its early education system, according to a new study from Wallethub. Early education was defined as Pre-K, state Pre-K, and Head Start programs for three and four-year-olds, with the quality of each state decided relative to other states.

In addition to being the eighth worst in the nation — the study included D.C. — New Yorkers spent the most each month on childcare co-payment fees. The state ranked 41st in access to early childhood educational programs, but was considered 17th for resources and economic support, meaning that the Empire State offers more resources than most.

Despite that funding, New York was ranked 44th in both quality and its overall rating. New York scored first in one category, “Monthly Child Care Co-Payment Fees as a Percent of Family Income,” meaning New York families spend the most on childcare. However, this ranking was a tie between several states.

Based on Wallethub’s methodology, Arkansas has the best early education program in the nation, and Indiana has the worst.

According to the National Education Association, early childhood education has been proven to help prepare children for later grades, making them less likely to repeat grades, and more likely to graduate high school. Participants in early childhood education were also found to be higher earners in the workforce than those who did not attend early childhood education.

Children in early childhood education programs are:

  • Less likely to repeat a grade
  • Less likely to be identified as having special needs
  • More prepared academically for later grades
  • More likely to graduate from high school
  • Higher earners in the workforce

Other New York rankings include:

  • 30th – Income Requirement for State Pre-K Eligibility
  • 23rd – Total Reported Spending per Child Enrolled in Preschool
  • 31st – Share of School Districts that Offer State Pre-K Program
  • 17th – Change in State Spending per Child Enrolled in Preschool (2018-19 to 2019-20)

Some factors included in determining the rank are:

  • Share of three- and four-year-olds enrolled in Pre-K and similar programs
  • Income requirements for state Pre-K eligibility
  • Total Reported Spending per Child Enrolled in Preschool
  • Monthly Child Care Co-Payment Fees as a Percent of Family Income

To see the full list of factors and ranking methodology, click here.