November 1, 2002
Florida Ballot Initiative May Lead to Mandatory Preschool

This past year, homeschoolers almost single-handedly defeated the "Government Nanny" bill, which would have created a far-reaching bureaucracy that would limit parental rights. We are thankful that Governor Bush vetoed this program's funding. A new potential threat, however, is looming in the form of a ballot initiative.

When Florida residents go to the polls to vote this Tuesday, November 5, they will have opportunity to vote on the "Voluntary Universal Pre-Kindergarten Education" ballot. We urge everyone to vote "No" on this proposal, which if passed, will become an amendment to the Florida constitution. We believe that the creation of a pre-kindergarten program for 4 year olds in Florida will lead to compulsory school attendance of 4 year olds.

The ballot summary for this initiative states: "Every four-year-old child in Florida shall be offered a high quality pre-kindergarten learning opportunity…which shall be free for all Florida four-year-olds without taking away funds used for existing education, health and development programs." This simply means that your taxes will be raised to educate four-year-olds in the public schools.

The actual text of this ballot is: "Every four-year-old child in Florida shall be provided by the State a high quality pre-kindergarten learning opportunity in the form of an early childhood development and education program which shall be voluntary, high quality, free, and delivered according to professionally accepted standards. An early childhood development and education program means an organized program designed to address and enhance each child's ability to make age appropriate progress in an appropriate range of settings in the development of language and cognitive capabilities and emotional, social, regulatory and moral capacities through education in basic skills and such other skills as the Legislature may determine to be appropriate."

We believe amending the Florida constitution in this way is a terrible idea for several reasons.

  1. Education of four-year-olds in the public schools has been proven ineffective. See HSLDA's position paper on Mandatory Kindergarten and Early Education visit: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000028.asp

  2. Creating a program for four-year-olds to attend school will likely lead to compulsory attendance of four-year-olds in the future.

  3. Education of four-year-olds across the state will raise everyone's taxes.

  4. This will create a "constitutional right" for families to have a public school education for their four-year-olds.

  5. This four-year-old educational program will seek to develop four-year-olds in their "emotional, social, regulatory and moral capacities" which is a function better performed by the parents.

Therefore, we urge Florida to vote "No" on the Voluntary Universal Pre-Kindergarten Education" ballot initiative this Tuesday, November 5.

 Other Resources

Florida Voluntary Pre-kindergarten Amendment Passes 11/8/02