Does this mean VPK is working?
According to the report, 88 percent of kindergartners could perform all or most all of what they were supposed to know and do within the first 30 days of classes, up from 86 percent a year ago. In letter naming, 58 percent were rated "above average," compared to 56 percent last year and 48 percent in 2004. In identifying letter sounds, 45 percent were considered "above average" compared to 44 percent a year ago and 39 percent in 2004.
Locally, Pasco County was among 30 counties showing a slight increase (2-7 percent) in the number of children ready for kindergarten. Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando counties showed no percentage increase.
State officials were quick to note that the rising levels of readiness coincide with the growing participation rate in Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten program.
"A solid learning foundation, developed early in life, is one of the most important things we can do for our children," commissioner Eric J. Smith said in a news release. "The more prepared these young children are entering school, the greater their chances for continued academic success."
(Times photo of prekindergarten class in Pinellas County, 2006)