Georgia’s pre-k program is a model for the nation. Teachers in the Peach State must have bachelor’s degrees.
Florida’s plan requires only a high school degree to begin. Georgia kids spend six and a half hours a day learning. The Florida plan calls for just three hours. That’s something Georgia educators just don't think is enough.
Jeanna Mayhill, a Thomasville pre-k administrator, says, "You take a typical child who after lunch, if they will be coming into a program, will be needing a nap, and is that really a useful use of our resources?"
Georgia spends almost $4,000 a year on each child for pre-k. Florida is allocating about $3,000. Even conservative Florida Taxwatch says the state is trying to get by on the cheap.
Dominic Calabro of Florida Taxwatch says, “The more you can invest and see that investment is in high quality content in the teachers, the better the chances are that you are going to produce kids that perform."
Even the governor is expressing concerns about the quality of the Legislature's bill, especially the 18 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Even with a better student-teacher ratio, Florida Children’s Campaign is giving the Florida plan low marks.
Roy Miller of the Florida Children’s Campaign gives this plan a grade.
"As it currently is written, D+, C-."
Is that high quality?
"No, it’s low quality babysitting for the regular school year."
So while Florida voters mandated a high quality pre-k program based on the Florida plan so far, that quality will clearly be in the eye of the beholder.