Gov. DeSantis orders changes for VPK program


Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered changes to the state's VPK program.

The Florida Department of Education said they released the 2017-2018 Voluntary Pre-k (VPK) readiness rates, and 42 percent of the children who participated were not ready for kindergarten.

DeSantis then responded by calling on Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to create a plan to ensure children get a good start to their education, according to FLDOE.

“A 42 percent failure rate is simply not defendable and certainly not good enough for Florida’s youngest learners," DeSantis said. "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.”

“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," Corcoran said.

Each school district is required to administer the statewide kindergarten screening to each kindergarten student in the district within the first 30 days of each school year, the FLDOE said. The screening gathers information about "each student’s development and readiness for kindergarten based on VPK performance standards."

Learning gains haven't been used in readiness rates in the past.

“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," said Early learning policy champions State Representative Erin Grall. "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.”

Click here for the 2017-2018 school year readiness rates.