Escambia County School District out of step

The Escambia County School District is out of step with the rest of the state when it comes to the top priorities in public education–Pre-K education and workforce training.

The group 101 Florida Mayors is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to double down on early childhood education so the state’s generation-in-waiting can achieve higher high school graduation rates and have access to a full slate of employment and postsecondary education opportunities.

“We know that the basic structure of the human brain is mostly constructed in the first three years of a child’s life. If all children are cared for and sheltered from damaging stressors in this pivotal time they have a stronger start at leading a self-sufficient life of service to society,” read a letter signed by 101 Florida Mayors.

According to the Studer Community Institute, 80 percent of the children that attend Pre-K are ready for kindergarten.

Instead of supporting the expansion of Pre-K in Escambia County, the school board voted, 4-1, to approve Superintendent Malcolm Thomas’s recommendation to close McMillan Pre-K Center.

Gov. DeSantis has recommended about $507-million for “workforce education” in his proposed 2019-10 budget. The budget includes $71.6 million for high school and post-high-school career and tech programs. 

Meanwhile, Thomas has refused to sign off on a $3-million Triumph grant for vocational training programs in cybersecurity, supply logistics and aviation maintenance. Read $3 Million in Limbo.

There is little wonder public education in Escambia County lags behind the rest of the state when district leadership fails to support Pre-K education and vocational training.

Grover Robinson is not a member of 101 Florida Mayors.

Achieve Escambia has set a goal of having 75% of children entering kindergarten will be ready for school by 2025. Did the school board vote to close McMillan move us closer to achieving that goal?