Pre-K vote

FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- With students returning to class around the metro, more people are taking time to look at the quality of education their children are receiving. 

Recently, WalletHub put together a study evaluating early education systems around the country. Many people might state the results were a stunner.

Research shows that pre-K education results in better test scores, less crime and economic benefits. While good elementary schools, high schools and colleges are important factors for parents to consider when choosing where to settle down, the availability of quality pre-K education is just as crucial.

That’s probably a lesson Kansas and Missouri may need to invest more into.

The two states that make up the Kansas City metro scored toward the bottom for early education systems. Kansas ranked 46th and Missouri at 49th.

Missouri was also rated with the lowest quality of early education in the country, while its southern neighbor Arkansas was rated the best.

The study also found that Kansas and Missouri were tied for the lowest total state head start program spending per child enrolled in preschool.

For their methodology, WalletHub compared the states across three key dimensions: access, quality and resources and economic support.

In April, former Kansas City Mayor Sly James proposed a 3/8 cent sales tax to generate money that would go to expanding pre-schools, building new ones and subsidizing the cost of tuition for qualifying families. That proposal was opposed by 14 school districts including Kansas City Public Schools. They opposed the fact that the tuition grants would work like a voucher system.

"Kansas City Public Schools and all the other districts really should have the opportunity to decide what is the best way for them to increase the number of seats in their districts versus turning that over to a convoluted government system that is controlled by the mayor, the city manager and five people appointed by the mayor," said Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City.

In other parts of Missouri, Rep. Ian Mackey, who lives in St. Louis County, filed House Bill 583 to require parents to enroll children by five. Missouri law currently allows kids to start at seven.

"Evidence and experience demonstrate that a child’s early years are formative for their long-term development,” said Mackey. "You cannot start school at 7 years old. You can't make that time up."

House Bill 583 was proposed back in January and still waits pending from the Missouri House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

In Kansas, the State Department of Education says their goal is that each student enters kindergarten at age five socially, emotionally and academically prepared for success.

You can take a look at WalletHub’s study on their website.

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