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Rightpath Professors Jason Anthony and Jeffrey Williams Receive 1.8 Million Grant to enhance the quality of early education programs in Florida

USF Professor Jason Anthony

Jason Anthony, PhD

USF Associate Research Professor Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams, PhD

Nearly 150,000 children each year receive early education services through Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program. The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) recently awarded USF Professor Jason Anthony and USF Associate Research Professor Jeffrey Williams, PI and Co-PI, from the Rightpath Research & Innovation Center a $1.8 million contract titled "Development of an Accountability System for Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten Program." This collaborative project, in partnership with FLDOE and Hillsborough County Public Schools, aims to enhance the quality of early education programs throughout Florida.

The contract supports creation of a quality rating system for programs that accept VPK vouchers. The quality rating system will empower parents to make informed decisions about their child's education. It will also inform targeted allocation of professional development resources to those who need in most. “Research activities will involve our team of data analysts gaining a thorough understanding of the accountability tools employed, assessing the adequacy of data gathered with those tools, and then developing a number of formulas for the Department (of Education) to consider using as the basis for assigning quality ratings,” said Professor Anthony.  “We plan to evaluate alternative formulas to assure that the quality rating system selected by FDOE will be fair for providers who serve different student populations.” 

The study promises to shape the future of early childhood education in Florida. For additional information about the contract, contact Professor Anthony.