Thursday, members of the House Economic Affairs Committee passed HB 7119 Early Learning Programs, by State Representative Larry Ahern. The bill redefines child eligibility and prioritizes the state’s youngest and most vulnerable children to receive school readiness services.
“Today’s committee vote was a step towards increasing the effectiveness of early learning programs for the state’s youngest and most vulnerable children,” stated Representative Ahern. “This bill is a direct response to the Auditor General Report which detailed inefficiencies in administration and oversight of the Early Learning Programs.”
The Florida Auditor General Report performed a performance audit on the early learning systems, which looked at the efficiency, effectiveness, and design of the programs. The audit disclosed areas in which the efficiency and effectiveness of early learning programs, administration and accountability could be enhanced.
“By updating current Florida statutes, we will be able to provide a clear distinction of what is defined as School Readiness,” continued Representative Ahern.
The proposed changes of this legislation will clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Early Learning, the Early Learning Coalitions and private providers. Additionally, this legislation will authorize the Office of Early Learning to adopt curricula and child development standards that must be met.