Today, Governor Ron DeSantis celebrated the signing of House Bill 3 and announced that Florida is investing $270 million in literacy initiatives throughout the state.
On June 29, Governor DeSantis signed HB 3, creating the “New Worlds Reading Initiative,” Florida’s first statewide book distribution program.
Through this new program, children in kindergarten through fifth grade who are reading below grade level are eligible to receive free, high-quality books delivered directly to their homes.
In addition to the New Worlds Reading Initiative, which represents a $200 million investment, Florida is also utilizing an additional $71 million to fund and support other important literacy initiatives. Together, these initiatives total a more than $270 million investment.
“As a father of three young children, I want every child to have the opportunity to achieve their full potential,” said Governor DeSantis. “The biggest difference we can make in setting Florida children up for success is making sure they know how to read. I’m proud to celebrate these investments in literacy today that ensure every student – regardless of their socio-economic status – has access to free, high-quality books. Thank you to Representative Trabulsy, Senator Burgess, Speaker Sprowls, and President Simpson for prioritizing Florida’s children.”
At the press conference in Fort Pierce Thursday, DeSantis also said he opposes school mask mandates, “We look forward to this upcoming year to be a normal year, to be in person and learn like normal kids,” DeSantis said.
“There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids. We’re not doing that in Florida. We need our kids to breathe,” he added.
On Thursday during a briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “If I were a parent in Florida, that would be greatly concerning to me.”
Psaki added that refusing a mask mandate is ‘dangerous’ for younger children.
“That puts kids at risk; it’s not aligned with public health guidelines,” said Psaki.
DeSantis said Thursday, “Parents obviously can equip their kids to go to school however they want, but there shouldn’t be any coercive mandates on our schools.”
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