Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bills on literacy, early learning

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VERO BEACH, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a pair of education bills into law that proponents hope will improve student literacy and early learning programs that prepare children for kindergarten.

The Republican governor visited a children’s center in Vero Beach for a bill-signing ceremony.

The legislation establishes the Division of Early Learning within the state’s Department of Education as part of what the governor said would produce “meaningful improvements to state accountability for early learning programs.”

The success rate of so-called “voluntary pre-kindergarten” programs had been under scrutiny because of data that shows many children are ill-prepared for kindergarten.

“As a parent of three young children, I know how important it is that parents have access to high quality early learning programs,” DeSantis said. “Early learning is critical for the lifelong success of our students, and supporting our earliest learners will take the guess work out of providing personalized interventions and instruction for our vulnerable students that may be falling behind.

“When I took office, our kindergarten readiness rate was 42% – that number is unacceptable. This legislation will support the thousands of Florida families that rely on our early learning programs to prepare their children for kindergarten by helping identify the support students need. Many thanks to Senator Harrell, Senator Rodriguez, Representative Grall, and Representative Aloupis, for sponsoring this groundbreaking legislation.”