LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A new study found Arkansas to have the best early education system in America.

With pre-K enrollment dropping by nearly 300,000 students last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the personal-finance website WalletHub wanted to look at the states with the best and worst education, naming the Natural State as the best and Indiana as the worst.

In order to conduct its findings, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics including the share of school districts that offer a state pre-K program to the number of pre-K quality benchmarks met and total reported spending per child enrolled in pre-K.

Following Arkansas in the rankings is Nebraska, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Rhode Island rounding out the top five.

Indiana sits at the bottom of the list. Ahead of it is North Dakota, Missouri, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

WalletHub named Arkansas near the top in a variety of metrics which led to its #1 overall ranking, including:

  • 6th in the share of 3- and -4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, pre-K special education, and head start.
  • 3rd in income requirement for state pre-K eligibility
  • 6th for total reported spending per child enrolled in pre-school
  • 12th in total state head start program spending per child enrolled in pre-school
  • 1st in monthly child care co-payment fees as a percent of family income.

To view the study’s full findings, visit