The Children’s Movement of Florida today applauded Gov. Ron DeSantis’ strong commitment to early learning following his signature of legislation (HB 419) to bring increased accountability to the state’s voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) program. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall and Sen. Gayle Harrell.
“Florida’s youngest children and their parents are big winners thanks to bold steps taken by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to enhance Florida’s VPK program and put a greater value on early learning,” said Madeleine Thakur, president of The Children’s Movement of Florida. “We uplift the lives of all Floridians when we measure what matters and equip parents with the tools necessary to make the best choices for their child’s learning needs.”
The VPK reform bill signed by Gov. DeSantis measures the effectiveness of VPK services through a research-based teacher-child interaction tool. When combined with measures of child learning gains and child achievement, this tool supports a robust VPK performance metric that will appear on a detailed childcare program profile that families can use to guide their school choice.
Florida voters in 2002 voted to establish VPK in the Florida Constitution. The state’s taxpayers invest $400 million a year to serve about 175,000 children through this commitment to provide every 4-year-old child a high-quality prekindergarten learning opportunity. The legislation also supports a new, comprehensive VPK through third grade progress monitoring program, chosen and supported by a Council for Early Grade Success. The Council, made up of stakeholders and experts, would be responsible for recommendations to the state Department of Education to support literacy goals for third-grade students.
The Children’s Movement of Florida insists on a strong start for all children, recognizing that young children need these basics to thrive: supportive parents and caregivers, stimulating early learning environments, and good health care – including early identification and intervention for developmental delays and disabilities.
About The Children’s Movement of Florida
The Children’s Movement of Florida is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan movement of Floridians insisting on a strong start for all Florida children. We advocate for high-quality early learning opportunities, access to children’s health care, and parent support programs in Florida.