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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gov. Rick Scott vetoes early education bill but proposes action of his own



Last week Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill (HB 5103) that would have changed Florida's school readiness rules.

Backed by nearly all the state's Republican lawmakers, the measure aimed to create state-approved curricula, pre- and post-assessments for children, and a standardized contract for providers, among other things.

Scott contended in his veto message that Florida has the ability to implement a strong early education system without any new laws. He said it was confusing and could lead to unintended consequences such as the loss of federal funding. He then outlined several steps he would direct his administration to take to ensure that this takes place. These include:

  • Adopt a uniform nationally recognized pre and post assessment to ensure children are making educational gains while participating in the school readiness programs.
  • Adopt a statewide standardized school readiness agreement.
  • Review child care payment rates to ensure fair and equitable rates are being paid to child care providers statewide.

"Solid early learning experiences are critical to our children being properly prepared for school success," he wrote. "I am committed to ensuring that Floridians have access to high quality early childhood education."

Lately, Florida has been criticized for having one of the most easily accessible but low-quality prekindergarten programs in the country. Some of the things Scott has said he aims to do have been on the critics' to-do list for a while. Other perceived needs, such as added funding and higher teacher qualificiations, remain. Keep watching to see where this heads.

[Last modified: Monday, April 23, 2012 11:14am]


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