Changes for Florida VPK program put on hold

Changes for Florida VPK program put on hold
(Source: AP Images)

Voluntary prekindergarten providers were dealt a setback Tuesday.

The Department of Education tells Contact 5 it hit pause on a rule change, that could help improve performance scores in the state.

Right now, VPK providers are scored based on the Kindergarten Screener, a test their VPK students take 3 months after they graduate (within the first 30 days of the kindergarten year). In a series of investigations, p roviders told Contact 5 that evaluation process is unfair.

42% of all kids in Florida failed this past year's test. After those results were released, Governor Ron DeSantis said they "were not good enough," and ordered the Education Commissioner to address them.

In that same news release, on May 15, the Department of Education said learning gains would now be included in a provider's performance score. Learning gains measure a child's progress throughout the VPK year.

The release said, "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."

But on Tuesday, a Department of Education spokesperson said the "proposed rule" needed public input, saying "until they get more feedback from the community," it will not go into effect.

FOX 29 has reached out to the Governor’s office and asked the Department of Education to explain further.

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