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The Children’s Movement of Florida Wants You to Watch This

This evening, a most important conversation affecting every Floridian will take place and The Children’s Movement of Florida wants you to watch.

We at GRAND Magazine applaud The Children’s Movement of Florida for stepping out of the not-for profit bindings to help educate the public on important issues facing our children and the future of Florida.

Congressman Patrick Murphy and Sen. Marco Rubio will face off in the final U.S. Senate debate before the Nov. 8 election. Several polls show this closely watched race is “too close to call” with “the control of the Senate very much in play.”

For the first time in our history, The Children’s Movement of Florida will be a major sponsor of a major political debate. We believe that as a non-partisan, political advocacy organization, we need to strongly encourage all elected leaders to make young children a top priority.

Please tune in.

Where to Watch the Debate on TV

The following stations will carry the hour-long debate live tonight, Oct. 26, starting at 7 p.m. ET**

WPBF 25 (ABC), West Palm Beach
WJXX (ABC), Jacksonville
WFTV (ABC), Orlando
WTVJ (NBC), Miami/Fort Lauderdale
WFTS (ABC), Tampa/St. Petersburg
WBBH (NBC), Fort Myers
WCTV (CBS), Tallahassee
WCJB (ABC), Gainesville
SNN-SunCoast News TV, Sarasota
WMBB (ABC), Panama City**
WEAR (ABC), Pensacola**

** The last two stations will carry the debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. Central Time

About The Children’s Movement of Florida


The Children’s Movement of Florida launched in 2010, but its origins date back to 1996 when then-Gov. Lawton Chiles asked 55 citizens from around the state to make recommendations for the future of public education in the next millennium.

Among them was David Lawrence Jr., then publisher of The Miami Herald. He chaired a task force on “school readiness” that led to an important 1999 law consolidating early childhood education and child-care programs into one integrated program.

Convinced that quality early learning was fundamental to the future of the state and the country, Lawrence retired from a distinguished, three-decade-long journalism career in 1999 to devote his full-time energies to early childhood initiatives.

Joining him was a public-spirited Miami couple, Dr. Jane and Gerald Katcher, and together they formed The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, underwritten by the Katchers’ financial generosity.

In 2001, the foundation launched a successful public awareness campaign, Teach More/Love More, which became the model for today’s statewide Help Me Grow parent resource advice center.

In addition, the foundation’s efforts led to other major successes, including two in the fall of 2002:

  • In September, Miami-area voters agreed by a 2-1 margin to increase their property taxes to create a dedicated funding source, The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade, charged with giving children the essential foundations to achieve their full potential.
  • In November, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment – championed by Lawrence and others – that established a free, voluntary prekindergarten program open to any 4-year-old in the state.

Then in 2008, the Children’s Trust was required by law to be reauthorized by Miami-Dade voters, who this time approved it by an overwhelming 86 percent.

Those successes prompted Lawrence and other early-childhood advocates to begin planning for a much larger statewide movement to make Florida the best state in the nation for young children. Within two years, The Children’s Movement of Florida began, with Lawrence serving as chairman of the board.

Since the start, two other couples, Mike and Constance Fernandez of Miami and Barney and Carol Jenkins Barnett of Lakeland, have been key benefactors of The Movement along with the Katchers.


To find out more about the Movement, such as what it stands for and how it operates, a list of Frequently Asked Questions provides the answers.

Donate Now

Your contribution, fully tax-deductible, will be used toward building statewide support for issues that will give children the best chance to be successful in school and life.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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