Governor directs education commissioner to address voluntary pre-k readiness rates

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Education released the 2017-18 Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) readiness rates, and 42% of children who participated in VPK were not ready for kindergarten. In response, Governor Ron DeSantis called on Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to create a plan to ensure Florida families receive the great start to an education their children deserve.

Governor Ron DeSantis said, “A 42% failure rate is simply not defendable and certainly not good enough for Florida’s youngest learners. I have asked Commissioner Corcoran to prioritize this issue and direct available funding to make enhancements. Nearly three-quarters of Florida parents rely on VPK programs to lay the academic and social foundation necessary for their children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.”

Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said, “We must have a real accountability measure for all our school readiness programs. We are highlighting this data to serve as a rallying cry going forward that we will improve our early learning opportunities for students. Our youngest learners deserve nothing else.”

Early learning policy champions State Representative Erin Grall and State Senator Gayle Harrell also weighed in:

Representative Grall noted, “These results are disheartening for our students and their families. A quality, accountable VPK system contributes to children being ready for kindergarten and ensures our K-3 educators are building upon a strong foundation. I am encouraged by Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran’s commitment to improvement and their recognition of the need for change. I look forward to working with the Commissioner and many early learning stakeholders over the summer months to improve our early learning system.”

Senator Harrell said, “I appreciate the Governor and Commissioner’s focus on improving every aspect of education, especially for students at this critical time when their readiness greatly improves their likelihood of achievement and opportunity throughout their entire education. We must have one goal and one goal only, and that is to have the best Pre-K in the nation. I am committed to doing my part to help achieve that goal.”

Section 1002.69, Florida Statutes, requires each school district to administer the statewide kindergarten screening to each kindergarten student in the school district within the first 30 school days of each school year. The screening gathers information about each student’s development and readiness for kindergarten based on VPK performance standards. The kindergarten screener results are used to evaluate the performance of VPK providers. Learning gains of the students enrolled in the VPK are also required to be used in determining the quality of the VPK provider. Although providers have been capturing learning gains for five years, learning gains have not been used in readiness rates.

In accordance with state law, beginning with the release of the 2018-19 school year results, VPK readiness rates will be calculated on both learning gains and kindergarten screener results. Providers that do not meet the minimum readiness rate will be subject to the following consequences:

  • Placement of the provider on probation;
  • Implementation of an improvement plan approved by the early learning coalition or school district including the use of an Office of Early Learning (OEL)-approved curriculum or a staff development plan;
  • Annual submission of an application to OEL for approval for a good cause exemption for providers not meeting the minimum readiness rate for three consecutive years;
  • Continued probation until the provider meets the minimum readiness rate; and
  • Ineligibility to offer the VPK program if on probation for three or more years without a good cause exemption.

LINK: 2017-18 School Year Readiness Rates

2 thoughts on “Governor directs education commissioner to address voluntary pre-k readiness rates

  1. I have firsthand knowledge of this issue being that I worked in the early learning field for a short while and while many will probably blame the educators, a lot of the issue is because parents/guardians do not sending the children to school regularly. Therefore, if the children are not in attendance they cannot learn and because it is voluntary, there are no consequences for poor attendance. Also, they expect educators to have degrees in which they pay top dollar for but yet they are paid very, very low wages. Yes, they have a lot for teaching children, but they also have families of their own who have needs that they must provide for as well.

  2. What happened to accountability due to the students from their providers at home? So it’s now acceptable to bring your child to school without them knowing their name, not fully potty trained, unable to speak in complete sentences, nor knowing what a letter or number looks like, not being able to hold writing utensils correctly or use it, to be dropped off and picked up late; all coupled with severe absenteeism and blame the teachers? Sounds like someone is taking advantage of this program for free year of baby sitting; then proceeds to make the teachers the new scapegoats. This should not be. Therefore; a students academic success should also include mandatory parent involvement to enter and remain in the program.

    Now in regards to FLKRS; perhaps a test should be given at the beginning, and at end of Pre-K to simply (monitor progress.) Because the way things are now, this system is going to implode. For one, most of these students don’t care about testing. They are only 4 years old remember? So they will have just turned age five (chronologically, not mentally) in all cases, when they enter kindergarten. Therefore, a large number of students will pick anything to get (off ) the computer, select the first answer or the usual, what they think is cute. This means most students still aren’t mature enough to value school, much less a test. And if you factor in the “summer slide,” when a students forgets what they’ve learned during summer break, then proceed to test them within a 30 day time frame of a new school year, with a new teacher, new school (maybe) and new classmates, your asking for failure.
    With all due respect, please bring back “common sense.”

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