TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Indian River County to sign new legislation in an effort to improve early education in Florida and prepare children for kindergarten.
DeSantis spoke Tuesday afternoon in Vero Beach at the Childcare Resources of Indian River where he signed HB 419 into law, which was recently passed unanimously by the Florida Legislature.
"House Bill 419 makes meaningful improvements to state accountability for our early learning programs," DeSantis said.
The new law does the following:
- Revises approved child care or early education settings for the placement of certain children
- Revises the requirements of the Gold Seal Quality Care program
- Requires students enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program to participate in a specified screening and progress monitoring program
- Revises early learning coalition responsibilities and duties;
- Authorizing certain students who enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program to receive intensive reading interventions using specified funds
He was joined by State Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart and State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach and State. Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, for the announcement.
"This policy is all about empowering parents and families and giving parents the information they need at that critical time in a child's life to make the best decisions for their children," Grall said.
The new education law takes effect July 1.
During the news conference, DeSantis also said more than 90 percent of seniors in Indian River County have been vaccinated against COVID-19. That figure is among the highest in the state.
DeSantis took a shot at U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., who announced earlier Tuesday he will be running for governor next year. Crist, the one-time Republican governor of Florida, switched parties in 2012.
"What party is (Crist) going to run in this time?" DeSantis joked. "I thought, heck, maybe he gives the Green Party a chance. He's certainly voting that way. We'll see what happens."
The governor made headlines Monday by suspending all local emergency orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic effective immediately.