Last Call for 6.15.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

When you think of the state’s workforce, toddlers don’t usually come to mind. But that’s exactly how Miami Rep. Vance Aloupis thinks about Florida’s future.

“Investing in children today is going to bear fruit 15, 18, 20 years from now,” Aloupis said.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit in Orlando capped the summit by discussing the impact early childhood education has on the state’s workforce.

“This isn’t about the workforce of today. It’s about the workforce of tomorrow,” Aloupis said.

Speaking during a segment called “Where Do We Go From Here? Policy That Aids Education,” Aloupis, chair of the House Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommittee, said a bill he worked on this Session (HB 419) will be “transformational” for Florida’s families because it brings long-sought changes to early childhood education.

The bill, which DeSantis has already signed, sets new standards for voluntary pre-kindergarten students.

“We’ve always assessed VPK based on kindergarten readiness, which is a hugely deceptive data point and in no way takes into consideration what’s happening in the classroom,” Aloupis said.

The bill would establish a timeline for phasing in a new VPK accountability system based on performance metrics that include student outcomes, learning gains and observations of child-teacher interactions.

“This is what we’ve been fighting for for 10 years, but now it’s time to really get started,” Aloupis said.

Aloupis said the path forward will involve supporting the early childhood workforce through professional development and better pay.

“We pay them like they’re babysitters but they’re so, so much more,” Aloupis said.

The picture, painted by Aloupis, would seem to show that if the state connects the dots early on, they’ll be rewarded with a capable workforce later. 

Evening Reads

Amtrak is a top travel choice in the Northeast. With an ally in the White House, it wants trains in the rest of America.” via Luz Lazo, Ashlyn Still and Laris Karklis of The Washington Post

Not friends, few benefits: Joe Biden to take ‘calculated risk’ in Vladimir Putin summit” via Anita Kumar of POLITICO

Winners and losers of the work-from-home revolution” via Derek Thompson of The Atlantic

Some stolen U.S. military guns used in violent crimes” via Kristin M. Hall, James LaPorta, Justin Pritchard and Justin Myers of The Associated Press

The human cost of Amazon’s employment machine” via Alexander Villegas, Susan C. Beachy, Beth Flynn, Scott Reinhard and Rumsey Taylor of The New York Times

How prone are you to believing a conspiracy theory?” via Kaleigh Rogers and Jasmine Mithani of FiveThirtyEight

What if doctors are always watching, but never there?” via Neil Singh of Wired

What do face masks have to do with abortion rights? FL’s First District Court of Appeal explains” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

Judge grills CDC on Florida cruise restrictions in hearing over Gov. Ron DeSantis lawsuit” via Emily L. Mahoney and Taylor Dolven of the Tampa Bay Times

Palm Beach County complaints about anti-hunger group ignite bitter political fight” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“Probably everywhere I go, I get people who have all these ideas and people can say what they want, but we’ve got a lot to do here, so that is the focus that I have.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on speculation he will run for President in 2024.

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