Childcare and Education
Even for parents of newborns, it can't hurt to think ahead about daycare and schooling.
- Smallest Infant-Class Size: Maryland The student-to-teacher ratio is 3 to 1 for all kids less than 18 months, and the maximum group size is only six if three or more children are under 6 months.
- Most Funding per Child for Head Start: Washington State More than $9,000 is allotted for every child enrolled in the programs, nearly $2,000 more per child than the national average.
- Most Licensed Childcare Centers: California This most populous state still has nearly 30,000 more licensed facilities than runner-up Ohio.
- Best Kindergarten: Georgia and Oklahoma Both states have programs available to all 4-year-olds in a majority of school districts, regardless of income. Most parents choose to enroll their children.
- Best Public Education: Massachusetts The Bay State was ranked tops by an independent research firm that compared schools according to per-pupil expenditures, graduation rates, and reading, writing, and math proficiency.
- Most Public School Funding: Washington, D.C. The nation's capital spent $13,187 per student in the 2001-02 school year -- that's nearly triple the expenditure per pupil in list-low Mississippi.
- Best SAT Scores: Washington State Washington has the highest verbal and math scores among states where more than 50 percent of graduating seniors take the exam. (Iowa has the overall highest scores, but only 5 percent of seniors take the SAT; most take the ACT, another college entrance exam.) Honorable mention for participation goes to New York City, where a whopping 87 percent of graduating seniors take the exam, a bigger share than in any other city in the nation.