Florida Vpk Public Policy Issues Essay

793 WordsJul 24, 20124 Pages
Week 5 Homework Assignment Christina Clowdus PPA 601 Professor Gordon July 16, 2012 The State of Florida has a population of over 18 million people comprising one of the most pluralistic and culturally diverse states in the country. Accompanying this fact are the challenges that go with diversely populated areas. One of the greatest public challenges is one that many states in our nation face – education. There was a time when our nation was No. 1 in the world for high school graduation rates, and No. 1 in the world for college graduation rates. Today our country is, respectively, No. 21 and No. 16 – and slipping further like many states (Zakaria, F. 2011). Florida ranks 45th in the country for high school graduation rates and was rated an F for the number of students graduating college (Stonecipher, A. 2010, p.1). The state has inevitably identified that one of the best solutions to improving education (and ultimately high school and college graduation rates) is by reaching children in the early years. Understanding the critical need to address early education within the first 5 years when 90 percent of brain development occurs laid the foundation for the eventual passage of the 2002 VPK state constitutional amendment. In 2002, voters in the state of Florida approved a constitutional amendment to provide a free, high-quality education to any 4-year-old. The words "high quality" were in the amendment language twice. A group of early education, government and political leaders crafted recommendations, which included a six-hour school day, pre- and post-screenings of students to determine the effectiveness of the programs and well-trained teachers. They wanted parents informed of progress and experts to observe teachers' interactions with children. By 2004, the Florida Legislature had enacted this legislation implementing the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK)

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