I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Florida Loses out on RTTT Early Childhood Education Grant

Thirty-five states and Puerto Rico applied for federal ECE money, but so far only 9 states have received the awards.  Florida's application was rejected, in part, due to a lukewarm application package laden with conditions.

From the Orlando Sentinal

"Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the state's application, said the state would accept the money only if "no federal strings" were attached and no "new burdensome regulations" were placed on private child-care centers...Scott said Friday that sticking to those conditions cost Florida. "Unfortunately, our insistence against irresponsibly using one-time dollars for recurring government programs did not win the favor of the administration in Washington," he said in a statement.  Florida will continue to push for "a world-class education system," the governor said. "We will accomplish this goal for the benefit of our current students and generations of Floridians to come without sacrificing responsible spending."

Not winning this particular award will not damage our schools in my opinion.  I remain somewhat skeptical about the effectiveness and benefit (relative to the costs) of  spending tremendous sums of money (Federal and or State) on ECE, given that the evidence of long-term learning gains measured after the third grade between students that received preK services compared to those who did not is very thin.  Some even would assert that the government spending huge sums on preK ammounts to nothing more than an additional entitlement program, as preK and childcare should be an individual, parental responsibility.  So losing this grant is not going to keep me awake at night 

By contrast, however--- Florida's winning of the $700Million  K-12 RTTT Grant has been tremendously impactful to our schools and will bear fruit for many years to come in this state as it has put the status quo directly into the cross-hairs of reform.

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