The 2014 Kids Count study looks at how kids are doing in math, reading and pre-K programs. State spending for pre-K programs has stayed the same since 2007. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families says more pre-K programs is the first step to improving those numbers.
"If kids have a high quality pre-K program, for example, they're able to overcome some of those barriers and be ready to learn, along with their peers," said Laura Kellams, Northwest Arkansas director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
With a 29 percent poverty rate, AACF says poverty influences the state's education numbers. The group tells us kids who live in poverty learn to read later and are less likely to graduate on time.