May 24, 2021

Sue Kingery Woltanski: The Value of Preschool

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Newly published studies have demonstrated the value of preschool. The catch is that the value is not related to standardized test scores. At Accountabaloney, Sue Kingery Woltanski lays out how the Florida legislature has once again lost the plot.

Should a newly published report out of Boston, regarding the long term effects of preschool, influence recent changes to Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program? Short answer: Yes.

During the past legislative session, Florida Representatives, Erin Grall and Vance Aloupis, were finally able to pass HB419, which provided much needed attention to Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and Early Learning programs. Governor DeSantis signed the bill on May 4th, 2021. Among other things, changes were made to the programs’ governance structures, moving the responsibility for overseeing the VPK and School Readiness programs, including rulemaking authority, to the State Board of Education (FLBOE). For both Representatives Grall and Aloupis, I believe, this was a labor of love – both are fully committed to improving early childhood education.

Unfortunately, this being Florida, both representatives were able to be convinced that more test-based accountability was necessary for that improvement.

So, a high stakes, test-based accountability system will be created for our youngest learners. “Deficient” 4 year olds will be identified for interventions and private VPK providers may see their programs terminated based on preschool test scores.

What could go wrong?

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