Teachers unions are known for being very liberal in general and Florida’s fix for the teachers’ shortage is not being taken well.
Florida has adopted a new state policy allowing veterans who have not received a college degree to teach at public and charter schools. The veterans would also receive a five-year voucher for teaching.
The state is facing a mass teaching shortage, with over 4,300 teaching vacancies being in effect. In addition, the new school year is almost starting, so the state is scrambling to get positions filled.
While teachers unions are not helping to solve the problem, they are complaining about the state’s attempt. Florida changed the requirements previously in place to try and get more military veterans to fill teaching positions.
Veterans who want to apply for the teaching voucher must have:
· Minimum of 48 months of active duty military service with an honorable/medical discharge
· Minimum of 60 college credits with a 2.5 grade point average
· Passing score on a Florida subject area examination for bachelor’s level subjects which demonstrate mastery of subject area knowledge
· Employment in a Florida school district, including charter schools
On July 1, 2022, the policy started and also gave out free waivers to military spouses.
Teachers are speaking out on the dire circumstances and many people are elected out of becoming teachers.
However, despite the severe shortage, teachers union members are dissatisfied with the prospect of veterans teaching children.
“We are always fighting to lift our profession up,” Carmen Ward, president of the Alachua County Education Association and a member of the Florida Education Association, said. “We have a lot of veterans that work currently in our schools. However, they have four-year degrees. Because it is an academic position, it requires that the person who is teaching the subject matter have academic experience with that subject matter.”
“And not to mention that teachers have pedagogy,” Ward continued. “It is not just a science, but an art to be able to teach children to read. We do not believe that anyone, regardless of their education, can be a teacher in a classroom.”
Despite significant pushback, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) thinks the new plan could be beneficial.
“We owe the freedoms we enjoy as Americans to our military veterans, and I am focused on ensuring Florida is the best state in the nation for those who have served to find great jobs, start or grow businesses and support their families,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Business is booming in Florida, and employers are looking for the leadership skills, training and teamwork military veterans bring to the workforce.”