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State standards show 41 percent of voluntary Pre-K students not ready for kindergarten

Posted at 8:05 PM, Oct 29, 2019

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Florida test scores show that 41 percent of kids in voluntary Pre-K programs are failing the requirements to be ready for kindergarten.

Now there’s a push for education leaders to do more about it.

Governor Ron DeSantis is calling for more funding to be made available for V.P.K. after 41 percent of 4-year-olds failed the 2017-2018 readiness assessment for kindergarten.

Funding could be part of the problem. A study done by Rutgers University showed that Florida Pre-K enrollment has increased by more than 15 percent in the last 10 years while state funding has decreased by $900 per child.

But some parents say it's not the schools that are failing, but the state’s standards.

"We’re just expecting too much from kids at such a young age," said Jessica Patterson, a Manatee County parent.

Patterson says she was shocked at the academics required of 4-year-olds in Florida, compared to the Pre-K school her other children attended back when the family lived in New Hampshire.

"There was a lot of worksheets and I just couldn’t understand why they were having worksheets in preschools," said Patterson after touring Manatee County Pre-K schools.

The readiness rate standards require 4-year-olds to have skills in things like language and literacy, mathematical thinking and scientific inquiry.

Things that Patterson believes 4-year-olds shouldn’t have to know about yet.

"There isn’t a huge joy of learning here because everything is so focused on testing," said Patterson.

The governor's office says the following:

In accordance with state law, beginning with the release of the 2018-19 school year results, VPK readiness rates will be calculated on both learning gains and kindergarten screener results. Providers that do not meet the minimum readiness rate will be subject to the following consequences:

  • Placement of the provider on probation;
  • Implementation of an improvement plan approved by the early learning coalition or school district including the use of an Office of Early
  • Learning (OEL)-approved curriculum or a staff development plan;
  • Implementation of an improvement plan approved by the early learning coalition or school district including the use of an Office of Early
  • Learning (OEL)-approved curriculum or a staff development plan;
  • Continued probation until the provider meets the minimum readiness rate; and
  • Ineligibility to offer the VPK program if on probation for three or more years without a good cause exemption.