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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – House and Senate Democrats this week filed proposals to expand instructional hours in the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program.

Public and private providers that participate in the voucher-based program would be required under the proposals (HB 1417 and SB 1922) to offer 1,440 instructional hours per school year, an increase from the currently required 540 hours.

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The change would mean pre-kindergarten students would receive eight-hour days of instruction, rather than partial days.

“I’m proposing that we expand the pre-kindergarten to a full day.

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After all, who works three hours a day? This would go a long way towards helping ensure that no child falls behind and parents can get back to work,” Senate sponsor Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat who is running for governor, said in a statement Wednesday.

The bills also seek to extend summer pre-kindergarten programs from 300 to 480 instructional hours per term.

House sponsor Kamia Brown, D-Ocoee, said the legislation is geared toward ensuring children “receive substantive instruction that would prepare them to enter kindergarten and thrive.”

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