Nashville’s pre-K education program has been ranked in the top five among the country’s largest cities by CityHealth, a new initiative by the Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.
In its second annual report, the organization graded the cities on nine components. The group included pre-K in their study because it believes access to a high quality early education leads to longterm improvements in public health.
CityHealth partnered with the National Institute for Early Education Research to evaluate Nashville’s pre-K program on 10 quality benchmarks. They included adequate funding, classroom size and accessibility for low-income families.
While 33 out of the 40 cities received medals for high-quality programs, only Nashville and four other cities — Boston, Charlotte, New York City and San Antonio — received the highest honor: a gold star.
CityHealth says kids who attend preschool are more likely to go to a doctor, receive immunizations, and get dental care.
They also point to long-term benefits, which they say include increased high school graduation rates and decreased likelihood of going to jail or becoming a teen parent.
Earlier this year, the state of Tennessee only met five of the ten benchmarks in a separate study.