But even if state lawmakers approve the governor’s plan, some Hoosiers may have to travel long distances to find a high quality pre-K program for their 4-year-olds.
More than 2,300 Indiana childcare providers participate in the state’s voluntary Paths to Quality program. But only a third of providers are rated a level 3 or 4, the threshold early learning advocates say indicates high quality.
Using data from the Family and Social Services Administration, we heat-mapped all participating level 3 and 4 providers — and found large parts of the state where there just aren’t many high quality options.
Think of the heat map as a summary of where level 3 and 4 providers are concentrated. You can look up how many highly-rated pre-K providers are in your zip code after the jump.
Levels 3 & 4 Paths to Quality Pre-K Providers By Zip Code
Note the map doesn’t show pre-K providers rated level 1 or 2 on Paths to Quality program. According to an Indiana University study, it’s unlikely such programs would meet the benchmarks early education researchers use to define high quality.
A few takeaways:
- More than half of the state’s top-rated pre-K providers are located in just 15 cities. A third are in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Terre Haute or South Bend.
- Statewide, about a third of all providers participating in Paths to Quality are rated a level 3 or 4. But when you break down FSSA’s data by region, there are parts of the state with a larger percent of high quality providers than others. In northwestern Indiana, more than 40 percent of pre-K providers are top-rated.
- Indianapolis has 119 level 3 or 4 providers, the most in the state. But in the region that includes Marion County, only about a quarter of providers participating in Paths to Quality have scored the top ratings. In southern Indiana, only about a quarter of preschools are top-rated.