Florida Ranks Last in Pre-K Education

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Every 4-year-old in Florida is eligible for a free pre-k education. That has earned the state the number one ranking in the county from The National Institute for Early Education Research for access. But the same study ranks Florida dead last in quality. The report criticizes the state for increasing class sizes and not requiring at least a bachelors degree for pre-k teachers. Florida’s Children's Campaign says the state is being penny wise and pound foolish.

“Children who have Pre-K teachers that have bachelor’s degrees or greater are 99-percent better in reading; they’re 99-percent better in spelling; and they’re 78-percent better in print,” says Linda Alexonic, from the Florida Children's Campaign.

The problem with putting more qualified teachers in the classroom, besides money, is that the state’s universities just aren’t turning them out.

This pre school provides three hours of pre-k everyday for about 20 children.

These four year olds are learning math, and to read, by learning to cook. Math and reading are integrated into every facet of every child’s day.

It would cost the state about 60 million more each year for degreed teachers compared to the 350 million is now spending on remediation for first, second and third graders.

And the P.h.D’s that run this school say not just any education degree will do.

“They need to know about painting, and about why sand-play and gardening is important. And you don’t learn that when you’re learning curriculum and how to teach third-graders,” says Pam Phelps, an educator.

Florida currently requires just a certificate for pre-school teachers.

Florida abandoned a plan to require two year college degrees for pre-k teachers when the state budget got tight. Instead of better teachers, the state is spending 350 million dollars a year for remediation in the first’s second, and third grades.


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  • by Pam Location: Lakeland on May 25, 2012 at 01:18 PM
    I have an AA and have been teaching and training for many years. I was told that it has to do with socio-economics. So our children aren't worth as much? Is that what it boils down to? I say thank you DCF for creating our substandard child care in the first place. Any one can open a child care facility and be a "teacher". Let's test the "teachers" that have the CDA and see if they qualify. Our children are worth so much more. Parents need to look for quality and demand it and not just look for convenience.
  • by Nancy Location: Florida on Apr 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM
    I've been a pre-k teacher for 21 years-with a Bachleors and certified in birth thru Pre-k- sorry... I am more qualified than a CDA-and i don't know why thats deemed a bad thing...i spend my year helping children learn-socially, academically, physically, the whole child-and because of my education -I am much more aware of problems that linger under the surface--push for programs that can help that child/parent-giving them a boost and headstart before the big "K"-why the *&^% do I have to apologize for being an educated individual?-doesn't our children deserve to be taught by people who give them a quality education-a giant headstart into the world of Kindergarten in a fun- not boring/repetitive way?
  • by Kathy Location: New Port Richey on Apr 17, 2012 at 02:23 PM
    I disagree with the bachelor's degree, CDA teachers are better trained in early childhood education and specifically birth through age 6. Also if you look at readiness rates the private preschools are scoring higher with CDA teachers over public school programs with Bachelor Degree teachers. Florida needs to do a free 6 hour per day program and pay lots more per child to even come close to other states with a quality program.
    • reply
      by Lynn on May 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM in reply to Kathy
      Having a CDA should be like having a 2 year degree alot of work goes into trianings and studing.Pre-k is team work !!!!
  • by Dan on Apr 10, 2012 at 05:47 AM
    I like Chicken Gutz's post. My child was often bored due to curriculum being repeated over and over. I understand the "blue's clues" concept of repetition but most children get it after the second time. Maybe we need to wake up and realize that some children need to get left behind. Let's stop dumbing down our race to the lowest common denominator.
    • reply
      by BLACK on Apr 10, 2012 at 08:29 AM in reply to Dan
      repetition over and over is not good. my kids are so bored too....what to do to get a better education system in america????? children left behind means every kids can get an education, it has nothing to do with curriculum.... we need real curriculums with real lesson plans, real things for our kids!!!!
  • by BLACK on Apr 9, 2012 at 07:05 PM
    yep, all about money...and who pays the consequences while them politicians fill up their pockets: our children!!!!! wake up people
  • by it came out Location: THE TRUTH on Apr 9, 2012 at 06:49 PM
    well, i have been saying it for so long, this florida school system is pointless, kids dont learn like they should, my kid has been doing the same thing in class for the last 7 months...same thing and my kid is bored. seriously. kindergarten is the same way. not only they go to school from 8:30 to 2:20, with 2 hours nap or recess time, what they gona learn???? other coutries have normal 8 to 12 and 2 to 5 or 9 to 4 with an hour break. only in america kids have 4 hours of classes? then you wonder why florida ranks last ,waow..... i do not like this system and am very disappointed in this school curriculum. children nowadays do not learn anything, they are bored and on top of it, P.E is being removed from most school which is like so vital for children to have....please people change this curriculum and learn from other states or countries how to really teach children.
  • by Chicken Gutz on Apr 9, 2012 at 06:03 PM
    Well, with the GOP kool-aid drinking legislative loonies trying to keep up with governor goon, I would expect that Florida will completely knock Mississippi out of last place in every imaginable catagory.
    • reply
      by agreed on Apr 10, 2012 at 03:01 AM in reply to Chicken Gutz
      you said it!
    • reply
      by BLACK on Apr 10, 2012 at 08:27 AM in reply to Chicken Gutz
      i like that.....lets abort him before 2nd term....:)
      • reply
        by Lee on Apr 23, 2012 at 03:07 PM in reply to BLACK
        Amen!, in reply to "BLACK" The Governor of Florida is turning this state into a cesspool. We are really going down the drain, educationally and otherwise--from Pre-K through the college level! Look what he did to UF in Gainesville this month. He eliminated the Computer Science Engineering program and took the $ and gave it to the athletics division! He is the ruination of this state!
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