Report: Florida tops nation in prekindergarten

Funding , quality cause concern

Published On: Apr 10 2012 03:20:24 AM EDT

Florida now has the highest percentage of 4-year-old children nationwide enrolled in a state prekindergarten program. But a new report is warning that funding and quality are so low the state may see little return on its investment.

   A National Institute for Early Education Research report finds that 76 percent of 4-year-old children are enrolled in the state's voluntary pre-kindergarten program. Yet state funding per child enrolled is significantly lower than the nationwide average.

Florida's voluntary prekindergarten program also only meets three of 10 quality standards measurements, which include teacher preparation requirements and class size.

The director of the Officer of Early Learning says the program has shown positive results, with nearly 77 percent scoring as "kindergarten ready" on two assessments last school year.