United Way of Broward County
2014 Legistative Agenda
Quality Standards for Early Learning Providers
United Way of Broward County calls on the Florida Legislature to mandate uniform quality standards for all early learning providers.
The foundation for communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork - skills that employers nationwide cite as critical to workplace success - is developed by age five. Research shows that investing in high quality early education yields big returns. Yet school readiness funding has declined by almost $100 million since 2001 and more than 60,000 children are on School Readiness waiting lists statewide.
According to a 2013 study by the Children’s Forum, 68% of early learning programs in Florida are of "minimally adequate" quality and almost 20% are "low quality". The National Institute for Early Education Research ranks Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program 35th among 38 states in per pupil funding and reports that the Sunshine State’s VPK program meets only three of ten nationally recommended standards.
Approximately 65% of children receiving child care assistance in Broward County are placed in accredited programs, and the remaining children are enrolled in unrated programs with unknown quality levels. Research has shown that poor early learning experiences negatively impacts children’s development. Child success is essential to Florida’s future, and taxpayer investments reflect hard-earned money that should be invested wisely. The benefits of quality early learning require adequate funding.