Evelio Torres gets tots on a scholarly road early so they are more likely to succeed later in life
As president and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe for five years, Evelio C. Torres said the future of the nation, state and individual communities depends on early childhood education.
"If we want a better country and a better state and a better community, part of that solution is to really work with our families to try to make sure that they have every single opportunity to create a better future for themselves and their children," he said.
Traditionally, Mr. Torres said, education has been viewed as K-12 or even K-20. But now, he said, education is viewed as pre-K-12 or pre-K-20.
"We are working very closely with the public school system and with private schools to make sure that everyone starts looking at education from the very early stages," Mr. Torres said.
Early learning coalitions were created by the Florida Legislature about 10 years ago as part of the School Readiness Act of 1999. He said there are 31 in the state, serving all 67 counties, with the purpose of helping children from birth to age 5. Early childhood education can make a tremendous difference in a child's entire educational career, he said.
"When children start falling behind from the very beginning, from kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, sometimes they never catch up," Mr. Torres said. "It is really amazing the number of children [who] are not reading at grade-level by the third grade."
Mr. Torres talked about the need for pre-kindergarten education and the advantages for both children and parents provided by the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe with Miami Today's Rachel Tannenbaum in his Coral Gables office.
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