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Governor Ron DeSantis orders changes to Florida's Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program

Gov. Ron DeSantis smiles during news conference in Miami, Jan. 9, 2019
Posted at 5:59 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 10:08:16-04

Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered changes to Florida's Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program.

State test results show 42 percent of children who participated in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) were not ready for kindergarten.

Teachers told WPTV last month, that's because of the way the testing system is set up, with kids taking the final test three months after they graduate VPK, among other problems.

DeSantis said Wednesday that he agrees "the failure rate is not defendable."

DeSantis has ordered the Department of Education to not only count the final test when scoring VPK providers, but count what's called learning gains as well, which means that tests given during the VPK year, to measure growth, will count towards a final grade.

VPK providers say there is still a long road to go but this is a good first step.

DeSantis did say there would be the following consequences if providers do not meet the minimum readiness rate:

· 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;

· Annual submission of an application to OEL for approval for a good cause exemption for providers not meeting the minimum readiness rate for three consecutive years;

· 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.