TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Education found about 42 percent of voluntary pre-k providers across the state are failing to properly prepare children for kindergarten.

Its why Gov. Ron Desantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran are rolling out new standards VPK providers have to meet or they could be shut down.

“A 42 percent failure rate is simply not defendable and certainly not good enough for Florida’s youngest learners,” DeSantis said in a news release. “I have asked Commissioner Corcoran to prioritize this issue and direct available funding to make enhancements. Nearly three-quarters of Florida parents rely on VPK programs to lay the academic and social foundation necessary for their children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.”

More: Click or tap here to read the Florida Department of Education’s 2017-18 school year readiness rates

Moving forward, VPK providers will be held to higher standards.

If they don’t make the grade, they’ll have to pay the following consequences:

  • Being put on probation if they don’t meet the readiness rate showing that students are learning.
  • They’ll have to implement an improvement plan. If they don't improve, the provider will have to apply for a good cause exemption to stay on probation.
  • If that doesn't work, they can become ineligible to provide VPK at all.

Corcoran said these standards will serve as a rallying cry that early learning is taken very seriously.

Nearly three-quarters of Florida parents rely on VPK programs to teach children the essentials needed before kindergarten.

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