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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

The number of the week is...



2.44 - That's the percentage increase Gov. Charlie Crist wants to give to the state's universal Voluntary Prekindergarten program. It translates into an additional $62 per 4-year-old, raising the per-child funding to $2,622. Which begs the question, what did lawmakers mean when they said the pre-k implementation law they adopted two years ago was a "first step" and not a final solution? Since then, there's been no effort to address key concerns raised by early childhood education advocates, key among those being an increase in the per-child rate to $3,899. That would be enough, they contend, to pay for teachers with better credentials and increase the pre-k day from 3 to 6 hours. Even Florida Tax Watch has supported paying what it takes, because the cost of the alternative - dropouts, juvenile offenders and the like - are too high to bear. Yet so far, there's just one bill filed in the Florida Senate to look into these matters, by a Miami Democrat who hasn't had success here yet.
So there it is. 2.44. A number worth rethinking as the state aims to improve its competitiveness for the 21st century.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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