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Children's Movement Aims to Make Investment in Youth a Priority for Florida

BRADENTON -- An influential consortium of successful Floridians have joined efforts to advocate for a radical shift in our state's approach toward investing in our young. The Children's Movement of Florida is a non-partisan educational and informational campaign that hopes to see children viewed as a much higher priority when it comes to the investment of our resources.

The "Milk Party" as it's come to be known, is inspired by what it sees as a completely backward approach to preparing for a strong state that is competitive in the new economy. Lifelong child advocate and former publisher of the Miami Herald, David Lawrence Jr. along with former US Attorney and current Florida Board of Education member Roberto Martinez head a 27-member steering committee that includes such notable names as Allan Bense, Bob Butterworth and USF president Betty Castor.

The organization will lobby for a more balanced share of the state's resources being invested in areas deemed essential to improving Florida's dismal ranking in categories like graduation rate, pre-kindergarten standards, percentage of children covered by medical insurance and screening and early treatment for special needs. The group will advocate

The group points out that Florida ranks in the bottom half of states in child health, with hundreds of thousands uninsured and . As Lawrence points out on their website, "We are neither a very educated state nor an especially healthy one. Leaving Florida this way is a recipe for a competitive debacle in this 21st century global economy."

The group is quick to make it known that they are not asking for higher taxes, simply a reexamination of our priorities and a more thoughtful, equitable distribution of our resources. It bothers Lawrence that we can find $51,000 to secure a juvenile prisoner in a secure facility, but not $7,000 for an extra public school thought or even $3,000 for an extra seat in pre-k. The group will hold one of their signature milk and cookie rallies at Sarasota's Riverview High School (map) tonight at 6:00 p.m. They would like to encourage anyone interested in showing their support or learning more about their mission to attend.


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