Seeking a pre-k fix
Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, isn't surprised at all by the latest reports ranking Florida near the bottom of state prekindergarten programs when it comes to funding and quality. Once again, she's one of the few Florida lawmakers pressing to make it better. She's focusing on two efforts. One would create a star rating system, so parents could go to anyplace in the state and see how good or bad a pre-k provider is (HB 1107). The other would change the way Florida oversees pre-k (HB 1103). "The biggest problem that we face in trying to get funding and improve the quality of VPK is that it is in three different agencies," Ausley told the Gradebook. "As a result it is in three different budgets in the Legislature. The buck doesn't stop anywhere. As a result, children in Florida are suffering." She wants to create an Office of Early Education in the governor's office as part of the reform. Ausley isn't sure where the bills are headed, and she plans to talk more with Schools and Learning chairman Joe Pickens later today, before calling out the advocates to pressure for change. "I'm optimistic that we can at least get the dialogue started," she said.