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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Florida has a teaching shortage, so what do they do? Make it worse!

I work at an ESE center school and for time immemorial teachers were able to do so with their ESE K-12 certification. Well that has come to an end as now they are being required to take multiple subject area tests. Many of these teachers are veterans with decades of experience.  

Speaking of these subject area tests, they now cost hundreds of dollars, have been made more difficult and failure rates have sky rocketed.    

This has happened while according to the Florida Education Association, Florida currently has 2,200 teaching vacancies, 700 more than this time last year.

One of the reasons is pay as Florida teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation, but others include a lack of job security, teachers hired after 2010 can be let go at the end of a school year for any or no reason. The erosion of creativity and flexibility as many teachers are forced to teach to a high stakes test. A lack of resources, teachers routinely spend hundreds if not thousands of their own dollars. Their classes are too large. People might not know it but the class size amendment through changes has all been but completely gutted.  They are evaluated by a complicated and often inaccurate measure that was designed to predict fertility rates in livestock. Then there is also a lack of respect. Teachers have been scapegoated and blamed for society’s ills, often done so by people who want to profit off of education. It is inexplicable to me how the teacher shortage isn’t even worse.

None of above is anything close to being a secret.

So what does Governor DeSantis do when addressing education? He talks about expanding vouchers.

If you didn’t know it, teachers at voucher schools, don’t have to have degrees, don’t have to have expensive certifications, and don’t have to teach to the test, because their kids aren’t required to take standardized or high stakes tests to graduate, while public school students do.  They also aren’t required to have recognized standards or curriculums and more than a few teach junk science, people lived with dinosaurs and history, slaves that had Jesus in their heart were actually free, among other ridiculously, paid for with public money, subjects.    

Now are all private schools that take public money in the form of vouchers terrible? The truth is we really don’t know, because there is so little accountability, most of them don’t even have to report how they use the money. Failed charter school operators have been known to start private schools that take vouchers to get around the very modest requirements that charters have.   

Voucher schools also only educate about five percent of students. This would make one think DeSantis might be more interested in helping public schools but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Traditional public schools educate the vast majority of Florida’s children but they are treated like pariahs and as we can tell they system is about to break.

I tell my students if they are in a hole to stop digging, while unfortunately it seems Tallahassee has requested a backhoe.


  1. Subject area exams are a cash cow, and will not be dialed back. The more they can figure out a way to milk teachers or teachers in training out of their money, the more they will do it. My friend recently left teaching because the cost was too damned high! She could not afford the excessive personal time commitment or thousands that it cost to take classes, exams, etc. I might add that she taught math. Also, where is the three percent that was stolen from us by Emperor Rick Scott? I need that money for my retirement, but teachers will never get that back either. Finally, while I feel sorry for the federal workers that are not being paid, this is the crap that teachers have been facing for years- working without pay (for overtime, meetings, tutoring, etc)! So, when you hear that folks are working without pay and can’t make ends meet off of their take home income, remember it happened to teachers first, and you may be next!