TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – More than 760 teaching slots were filled within two weeks of the school year beginning, according to the Florida Department of Education.
On the first day of school for the 2022-23 school year, the department said there was a total of 5,028 teacher vacancies in Florida. As of Sep. 1, the number of teacher vacancies in Florida dropped by 766 to a total of 4,442 vacancies.
There are roughly 185,000 teachers in Florida and the state’s vacancies represent about 2.4% of teaching positions. The Department of Education said this is around 1.2 open positions per school on average.
“As always, the Department will continue to work diligently to support Florida’s teaching needs with a focus on proactively working with superintendents on a case-by-case basis,” DOE Communications Director Alex Lanfranconi said.
States across the country are grappling with a teacher shortage. In Florida, qualified veterans can receive a temporary teaching certificate until they receive a bachelor’s degree to help ease the teaching shortage.
Criteria for veterans to receive a temporary certificate:
– Served four years in Military with honorable discharge
– At least 60 college credits
– 2.5 GPA
– Pass a subject area examination
Florida Democrats have criticized the program for not allowing “qualified teachers,” even though Florida lawmakers unanimously passed legislation for the veteran program.
Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed additional initiatives in August to help recruit teachers. Florida lawmakers would need to approve the proposals for them to take effect.
The first initiative includes recruiting first responders who have their bachelor’s degree. DeSantis said the state would waive the state teacher certification exam fees and those first responders would be eligible for a $4,000 bonus under the program. That bonus would jump to $5,000 if they teach courses that have acute shortages.
The second Initiative creates a teacher apprenticeship program which will allow Floridians with their associates degree to get professional experience teaching in a classroom under the mentorship of an experienced teacher. The apprentice will spend two years teaching under the leadership of another teacher. The teacher mentor will receive a $4,000 bonus for every person they mentor.
The third proposal includes a scholarship program to help current high school teachers earn their masters degree. It will allow them to teach dual enrollment classes at the high school where they currently work. Dual enrollment allows students to gain college credit in high school and save some money. Students typically will travel between the high school campus and the college campus.
Last school year more than 92,000 public school students participated in dual enrollment.
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