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PRESS RELEASE

June 13, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Final 2005-06 VPK Kindergarten Readiness Rates Released in Anticipation of Next State Board of Education Meeting

~State Board of Education set to establish minimum readiness rate at upcoming board meeting~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education today released the final 2005-06 Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates in anticipation of the next State Board of Education meeting set to take place on Tuesday, June 19, at Miami Edison Senior High School. Release of the final readiness rates serves as a precursor to the establishment of a minimum readiness rate for VPK providers by the State Board. Providers who meet or exceed the minimum readiness rate are considered satisfactory providers of the VPK program.

“VPK offers a solid foundation of learning to Florida’s youngest students, enabling them to achieve increased success throughout their academic career,” said Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg. “The establishment of a minimum readiness rate by the State Board will arm parents with additional information when deciding who the provider of that foundation should be for their children.”

By setting the minimum readiness rate, the State Board will also be identifying low-performing providers that will be required to submit an improvement plan targeting areas for change including proposed actions or existing actions taken. VPK providers identified as low performing for three consecutive years will no longer be an eligible VPK provider.

“The success of the VPK program is not a surprise,” said Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Monesia Brown. “Children who enter kindergarten without the opportunity to develop critical skills in early childhood are at a great disadvantage. We are now equipped with the data to improve upon our successes, evaluate our providers and continue to deliver on our promise of a high-quality universal VPK program for all of Florida’s four-year olds.”

The preliminary readiness rates were released on May 15, 2007, followed by a two-week period for providers to submit disputes to the Department. In response to issues raised during the provider dispute process, the Department conducted additional activities to improve the quality of all providers’ data. This improvement led to the inclusion of 33 additional providers, raising the total number of providers from 3,739 to 3,772 included in the rate calculation.

The dispute/appeals process was available to providers who believed their rate was not accurate. In order to be considered, disputes had to address one or more of the following issues:

  • the number of children served
  • the number of children meeting substantial completion
  • the number of children screened on any measure
  • the number of children in the readiness rate calculation.

In preparation for the calculation of the rates, the Department and the Agency for Workforce Innovation worked together to give VPK providers an opportunity to verify their enrollment information and make any changes via the online database. Florida’s 31 early learning coalitions reviewed provider changes for accuracy and requested supporting documentation as needed.

Final readiness rates indicate that children who participated in the state’s Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education program performed better on the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) – screening instruments given to children within the first 30 days of kindergarten – than children who did not participate in the program. Further, children who attended the VPK program less than 85 percent of the time still scored higher on the FLKRS screening measures than children who had no exposure to the program.

Florida’s VPK program is jointly administered by the Department of Education, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, and the Department of Children and Families. The Department of Education oversees standards, curricula and professional development; the Agency for Workforce Innovation administers the day-to-day operations of the program including policy development, financial management and oversight of the 31 Early Learning Coalitions; and the Department of Children and Families provides oversight of child care licensing, regulation, Florida’s Gold Seal Quality Care program and issues credentials for child care personnel.

For more information on VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates, visit https://vpk.fldoe.org.