Governor Kristi Noem is misusing data again. She went on Twitter Tuesday to tout a WalletHub post saying “South Dakota ranks #1 for Early Education Quality“.
She tweets that “our children are succeeding” because “We’re putting Freedom and families first in education”. But we’re far from first in education. As Rae Yost points out, WalletHub says we’re #23:
Governor Kristi Noem is correct, a recent WalletHub study did rank South Dakota No. 1 when it comes to early education quality. But what the Governor didn’t share in her Aug. 16 Kristi Noem X account post is the same study ranked the state 23rd overall [Rae Yost, “Gov. Kristi Noem’s No. 1 Post Only Part of Story on Early Education,” KELO-TV, 2023.08.17].
And while our early education programs are really good, not many South Dakota kids get that good education, because South Dakota remains one of the only states with no public pre-K program:
The WalletHub study ranked South Dakota 37th in access to early education and 41st in resources and economic support.
…The Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank organization that focuses on bipartisan approaches to issues, has also ranked states’ ability to oversee federal and state funding in early childhood education. In January, the policy center ranked South Dakota 50th. It ranked the state 47th in 2018. Washington, D.C., was included in the evaluation of all 50 states both years.
A study released by 24/7 Wall Street in June 2021, ranked South Dakota 47th worst for early childhood education. It evaluated several metrics including state spending, enrollment and others.
…WalletHub cited a FiveThirtyEight report that South Dakota is one of four states that does not offer some sort of state-run program for four-year-old children.
…About 20% of the state’s three and four year old children attended public early childhood education in 2021, according to the FFYF [First Five Years Fund]. State- and federally-funded early childhood opportunities serve more than 11,351 children and families in South Dakota, FFYF said [Yost, 2023.08.17].
Expect Team Noem to impugn Yost’s journalistic integrity, as they have fried Kevin Woster and Seth Tupper for unfavorable coverage. But don’t expect them to rectify their cherry-picking or fund pre-K education.