A new survey gave the Empire State a failing grade when it comes to providing quality education to its youngest residents.

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It's back to school shopping time, but before you pick out a backpack and new shoes for your toddler, you might want to know how your kid's swanky early education program compares to the rest of the nation's.

Despite New York's emphasis on quality education and it being 1 of 11 other states that offer universal pre-K, it appears this state doesn't exactly lead by example.

A new survey from WalletHub compared the early education systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and rated them across 12 key metrics. Deciding factors included the accessibility of pre-K programs, spending per child enrolled, and total benchmarks met.

New York, shockingly, ranked 38th overall, which is far below average. While the state has the third highest number of 3 and 4-year-old enrolled in programs like pre-K or Head Start, the state's score was tanked when based on the quality of its programs.

In all, New York ranked 45th overall in that category, and 26th in terms of accessibility.

The Empire State also placed 24th in terms of resources and economic support. It also was tied in last place for having the lowest total Head Start program spending per child enrolled in preschool.

What does this mean?

WalletHub found that New York might not be doing enough to set its youngest residents up for success.

Education experts ardently support the notion of enrolling children as young as 3 in early education programs because of the proven benefits.

Positive outcomes include a child's boosted readiness for future grades because early jumpstart programs are geared toward academic preparation. Experts also claim early education increases one's chances of graduating and earning more money than those who missed out on such programs.

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Additionally, the National Education Association claims early education lowers the risk of future crime. The organization also found that every dollar invested in early education for financially disadvantaged families returns an estimated $7.30 in economic benefits.

In all, experts say programs like pre-K and Head Start are proven to guide children into becoming healthier, higher-earning adults.

What early education programs are available in Central NY?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 28 Head Start programs located within a 50-mile radius of Utica. Programs include Head Start and Early Head Start.

NY.gov also has an interactive map that lists all the available preschool programs offered statewide.

What states have the best early education programs?

Based on Wallethub's findings, it was determined Arkansas was #1 in the roundup - scoring high in access to and quality of the programs. However, the state did stumble when it came to resources and economic support by earning a score of 18 out of 51.

Respectively rounding out the top five were Nebraska, Maryland, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Leigh Vogel, Getty Images for Knowledge Universe
Leigh Vogel, Getty Images for Knowledge Universe
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Conversely, there were a few shocking last-place finishers in the roundup.

Coming in dead last was Indiana, followed by second-worst Minnesota. Massachusetts scored third worst while fourth and fifth place respectively went to Missouri and New Hampshire.

Check out the interactive map below to see what states beat out New York.

Source: WalletHub
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