Bipartisan group to focus on children's issues, including VPK
Six Tampa Bay area lawmakers -- three Republicans and three Democrats -- are among 20 members of a new bipartisan group focusing on early childhood issues, including Florida's voluntary prekindergarten program.
The Early Childhood Caucus, hosted by Rep. Ari Porth, a Broward Democrat, meets today and will hear from a handful of speakers, including Linda Alexionok from the Children's Campaign, a group that has pushed for more access and higher quality VPK.
Area caucus members include Bill Heller, Janet Long, Jim Frishe and Peter Nehr from Pinellas and Betty Reed and Rich Glorioso from Hillsborough. Last year, Long, D-Seminole, and Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, co-sponsored a bill that aimed to beef up academic credentials for VPK teachers. It died in committee.