School readiness is birth to eight-year-old issue. The following are some staggering facts: If a child cannot read by the third grade, that child has little or no chance to succeed. Forty four percent of all Florida 3rd graders are not reading at grade level. This shortfall is most pronounced with low-income children. Failure to read proficiently by the end of third grade is linked to higher rates of school dropouts, suppressing individual earning potential as well as the state’s competitiveness and general productivity.
Unfortunately, School Readiness Funding has remained level for more than a decade, while over the past four years, state and federal funding allocations for afterschool services have decreased by 46%. Studies by the Legislative Office of Program Policy Analysis & Governmental Analysis (OPPAGA), the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and Florida TaxWatch have found elementary and middle school students in quality afterschool programs performed better on standardized reading and math assessments at grade level. What does this mean? We need more afterschool programs.
The Florida Afterschool Network, along with their partners, is asking the Florida Legislator to consider the above facts and amend Chapter 411.01, F.S. the School Readiness Act, to include reading by third grade as a priority for readiness. FAN is also asking to maintain eligibility for children ages 5-12 for the School Readiness Program, fully fund the School Readiness program and ensure that any program receiving public funding is of the high quality.
FAN is asking everyone to call, write or email their representative and let them know you support the efforts of FAN and that you want them to amend the School Readiness Act.
FAN is joined in their fight by the Children’s Movement of Florida, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, the United Way of Florida, FCTA, Florida’s First CCLC, Bright House, the Children’s Forum, the Children’s Trust, First Baptist Leesburg, Florida Afterschool Alliance, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Primetime Palm Beach County, St. Lucie Public Schools, The Family Café, Casper, Computer Mentors Group, Children Services Council, United Way, Communities in School and the Jacksonville Children’s Commission.