• Early Education

High-quality pre-K plays a critical role in closing the opportunity gap while raising achievement for all learners. When children start school without important skills, it becomes harder for them to achieve their potential without considerable intervention. These challenges can often lead children to face more severe issues, such as being retained in a grade, experiencing discipline troubles, or failing to finish high school.

Research supporting the positive impact of pre-K on children’s later outcomes has fueled the proliferation of state-funded pre-K programs across the country. Since our founding, Mississippi First has been an active advocate for pre-K in the state of Mississippi and has worked hard to pass legislation that supports state-funded pre-K. Currently, Mississippi First advocates for the continued improvement and expansion of the early learning collaboratives, our state-funded pre-K program.

A Look Inside

Types of Pre-K in Mississippi

Overview of Early Learning Collaboratives, Headstart, licensed childcare, and other public school pre-K

History and Current Status of State-Funded Pre-K

Diving deep into the year-by-year achievements and the current state of the early learning collaboratives.

State-Funded Pre-K Program Costs and Long-Term Budget Implications

Analyzing the program costs and budgets needed to operate a high-quality pre-K classroom.

Improving the Program

How we can improve the program and the opportunities to expand the program.


A detailed look into the Early Learning Collaborative Act, the Pre-K Tax Credit, each collaborative’s enrollment, the NIEER Quality Benchmarks, and a high-quality pre-K budget.


Rachel Canter

Executive Director

Rachel Canter is the Executive Director of Mississippi First and author of all Mississippi First reports, including Leaving Last in Line, the State of Pre-K series, and Nothing in the Pipes: Educator Crisis in Mississippi. Rachel founded Mississippi First in 2008.


Micayla Tatum

Director of Early Childhood Policy

Micayla Tatum is the Director of Early Childhood Policy and the co-author of the third and fourth State of Pre-K briefs that focus on access to pre-K in 2017-2018. She also was the project lead for the development and publication of the pre-K data dashboard.