PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon could be considered a teacher’s pet when it comes to early childhood education. A new study released Tuesday shows it received high marks when it comes to investing in preschool education. 

The study, published by WalletHub, says Oregon has the seventh-best early education system in the U.S. 

It was ranked No. 1 for providing resources and economic support. 

That category focused on how much each state spends per child enrolled in preschool, whether it’s invested more per child in preschool in recent years, how much Head Start program spending is issued per child enrolled in preschool, and monthly child care co-payment fees as a share of family income. 

Among these sub categories, Oregon ranked first in its total reported spending per child enrolled in preschool, its Head Start spending per child and its monthly child care co-payment fees as a percent of family income. 

WalletHub says preschool enrollment dropped by nearly 300,000 students during the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts say this erased a decade of progress and increased educational inequality. 

The National Education Association says children who attend 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 and eventually earn higher wages in the workforce. 

WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia and determined how their preschool programs compared across three dimensions: access, quality, and resources and economic support. They studied 12 key metrics, including share of school districts that offer a state pre-K program, number of pre-K quality benchmarks met and total reported spending per child enrolled in pre-K. 

Each metric was given a corresponding weight and those weights were used to rate each state. 

Below is the list of the 10 states with the best early education programs in the U.S., according to WalletHub. 

  1. Arkansas 
  2. Nebraska 
  3. Maryland 
  4. District of Columbia 
  5. Rhode Island 
  6. Alabama
  7. Oregon 
  8. Vermont 
  9. West Virginia 
  10. New Mexico