preschool

First Hattiesburg via Flickr Creative Commons

A report released this week by the U.S. Department of Education shows it doesn’t pay to be an early childhood teacher.

Wyoming is one of 13 states where preschool teachers earn, on average, less than half of the $56,000 annual salary earned by kindergarten teachers.

Wyoming Kids First executive director Becca Steinhoff says preschool teachers need more than $26,000 a year.  

Aaron Schrank

Wyoming spends a lot of money educating its children. The state comes in sixth place in per-student spending for K-12. But when you look at outcomes—like graduation rates—we’re stuck in the middle of the pack. Some educators say the key to boosting student performance is to put more focus on children before they start kindergarten.

Aaron Schrank/WPR

Educators from across Wyoming gathered in Sheridan over the weekend to discuss the future of early childhood education in the state.  

Wyoming is one of 10 states with no state-funded preschool, but early learning is available—mostly to low-income families—through programs like Head Start—and special education preschools.

The group heard presentations about the latest science on early brain development and looked at studies showing that spending on early education has more impact on learning outcomes than spending later in life.