We have been down this road before, but I will beat this drum till my knuckles bleed (and the older my children and my grandchildren get, the harder I'll drum).
Florida is once again reporting that 40% of Florida kindergartners are "not ready for kindergarten." Rep. Erin Grall (R) told a House early learning subcommittee "That's on us," as part of her pitch for HB 419, a bill intended to restructure Florida's early learning "system."
Florida has been spent a few years giving five year olds their own version of the Big Standardized Test to measure kindergarten readiness, and it has consistently found that nearly half of Florida's littles "are not ready" for kindergarten.
Clearly there is a problem, and the Florida legislature has been steadfast about looking for that problem in the wrong place.
If half of your five year olds are "not ready" for kindergarten, the problem is with either A) your instrument for measuring readiness and/or B) your expectations for what "readiness" looks like.
I bolded that because all caps would just be rude. But nobody in power in Florida seems to be looking at this answer.
There's the Children's Movement of Florida that wants to get to 100% kindergarten readiness by 2030. The group is a real cross-section of Florida's education policy-makers. Founded by David Lawrence, a former newspaper guy whose memoir comes with a Jeb Bush forward. The founding board also included the president of Publix charities, a bunch of former legislators, and the ever-reformy Manny Diaz. The CEO is Vance Aloupis, a lawyer by trade, who helped run Volunteer Florida for Rick Scott and who got some American Enterprise Institute leadership training. The president is Madeline Thakur who was polished up by the Miami Foundation and appears to have spent one year as a teacher's assistant in an ESL classroom, which is about as close as anyone in this outfit comes to having actual classroom education background.
Thakur had this to offer in her own op-ed on Florida's readiness "crisis."So what does it mean to be ready for kindergarten? For our 5 year olds, social-emotional skills are far more important than mastering letters, numbers and shapes. Children who are “ready” can listen, communicate and cooperate. They can hold a pencil and focus on a task. They have a foundation for critical thinking and curiosity and they have an eagerness to learn.