Bipartisan Pre-K Reform Bill Clears Initial Hurdles

Bipartisan Pre-K Reform Bill Clears Initial Hurdles

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
January 20, 2024

A new bill modifying current Florida law on private pre-kindergarten instruction and expanding state pre-kindergarten educational programs is steadily progressing through the legislature. 

Florida Senator Erin Grall’s (R-29)  ‘Early Learning’ pre-kindergarten bill, filed last December  was approved by the Education Pre-K-12 committee earlier this week. 

Senator Grall’s proposal would prohibit private pre-kindergarten educational services from tracking performance in ways that subject students to direct instruction through electronics. 

In doing so, Grall’s initiative attempts to prevent toddlers from being extensively and exclusively subjected to digital instruction. 

The bill would also establish a new “summer bridge program” for students participating in Florida’s  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) who demonstrate literacy deficiencies. 

Summer bridge program participants would benefit from four hours of daily instruction for a minimum of 100 total hours. 

VPK is Florida’s flagship public pre-kindergarten educational service. Established in 2005, the program collaborates with private and public instructors and boasts over 2.6 million alumni. 

All Florida residents 4 years or younger are eligible for VPK. 

Grall is living up to her title as Education Postsecondary committee chair, filing a separate education bill earlier this week to create an alternative pathway to High School education. 

The Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE) Program would enable students to earn postsecondary course credits through career and technical education (CTE) courses. 

“The GATE program provides students who have left high school before graduation the opportunity to access high-quality workforce education programs that lead to good jobs," commented Senator Grall. 

Last week, Grall also filed several bills to protect minors on the internet and social media

Grall’s proposals would require age verification on social media platforms and create regulations to shield minors from inappropriate online content.

Senator Grall’s social media proposal would prohibit individuals under 16 from using social media and compel social media companies to verify users’ ages. Age verification would have to be outsourced to unaffiliated third parties.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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