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Idaho ranks last in the nation for early childhood education

June 28, 2018
Camie Yngelmo

BOISE, Idaho – Idaho ranks last in the nation for early childhood education participation. Idaho is one of only six states that does not invest in prekindergarten or school readiness programs. According to the 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation today, 68 percent of Idaho’s 3- and 4-year-olds are not attending preschool.

Troubling disparities persist among children of color and those from families earning lower wages: 83 percent of Idaho’s Hispanic children are not enrolled in pre-K programs, compared to 64 percent of white children. And only one out of four children who live in families with incomes below 200 percent of poverty is enrolled in pre-K.

“High-quality early learning programs play an important role in preparing children for success. When 3- and 4-year-olds attend pre-K, they experience higher levels of educational attainment, career advancement and earnings later in life,” said Christine Tiddens, community outreach director for Idaho Voices for Children. “Idaho is missing opportunities to invest in proven measures to secure our state’s economic future.”

The 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows improvements in Idaho in many factors that lead to a child’s healthy development. Since 2010, the percentage of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment dropped by 23 percent. The percentage of children living in poverty decreased 5 percent.