The 2022-23 K-12 school year begins in less than two months, and Florida school districts are facing teacher shortages.
As of this week, Duval County Public Schools reported 529 vacancies for certified teachers, up 23 percent – nearly 100 positions — compared to the start of last school year. This year’s vacancies are almost double the number Duval saw at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
In addition, Orange County Public Schools lists over 200 K-12 teacher openings, while Brevard County Public Schools lists 235 teacher vacancies.
And while the numbers are daunting, they should not be surprising.
According to surveys by the Florida Education Association(FEA), the number of teacher vacancies have increased by 104 percent since August 2019. In August 2019, the FEA reported there were 2,135 advertised positions. This number increased to 2,962 in August 2020 and had ballooned to 4,359 by January 2022.
The report indicates that the most severely impacted curriculum is English, a subject in need of more teachers since only 25 percent of third-graders were found to read at a proficient level on the state FSA exam.
The report also notes that English and reading skills have the largest percentage of outside-the-field instructors – less than 4 percent of educators possess subject certification in these areas. Approximately 60,000 out of the 591,461 registered classes taught in schools throughout the state are being taught by individuals who are not licensed to do so, including over 9 percent of the English programs.
The findings by the FEA survey are consistent with data released by the National Education Association in February 2022 that found 55 percent of responding educators were thinking of leaving the profession earlier than planned. That number was up from 37 percent from the August 2021 numbers.
The increase in vacancies has not been ignored by elected leaders.
The Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to incentivize teachers with financial enhancements during the 2022 legislative session which ended in March 2022.
“Since day one, I have been focused on making Florida a leader in education, and I am proud to announce my proposals to invest record funding into our education system over the next year,” said DeSantis. “By continuing to boost teacher pay, give bonuses to principals and teachers, prioritize workforce education, foster a strong civics curriculum, and replace the FSA with progress monitoring, we’re making a significant difference in the lives of our students.”
The legislation provided $1,000 bonus checks for approximately 179,000 teachers and principals in Florida, as well as $600 million for teacher pay.
However, the legislative action has not alleviated the problem facing school districts.
The shortages are so dire that the Osceola County School Board – located in central Florida – voted in June to hire 140 teachers from South America to make up for the shortage of teachers domestically.
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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.
DeSantis is destroying education in floriduh!!!
I don’t understand why anyone would want to teach children of right wing crazy loons.
Fighting with school boards, fighting with teachers. Don’t push your archaic Christian beliefs on the entire population.
Put your kids in Christian schools!!
You can ban all the books there you want.
These comments are utter bs. Crap pay and carelessly flung abuse from morons like some of you all are why they are leaving. Do not fall for Desantis and his fascist bs.
Good, home school parents. There are excellent HS programs.
This was totally predictable.
Pretty sure that DeSantis’ Stop Woke and Don’t Say Gay bills are why teachers are leaving in droves.
Snidely can’t even spell blame correctly.
The public school system (not any given individual) has been rotting on the inside for a long time and the decay is now visible from the outside. It is so bad, that even if you are inclined not to notice, you can’t ignore it. It’s like food that has gone bad and is emanating a foul odor; you can’t ignore it. Or maybe it’s like a piece of wood that is rotten and is just no longer useful.
I agree with the sentiments of @Pat A. and @Snidely, that many good people are jumping from the sinking ship while they can.
Is the governor allowed to remove Woke school superintendents who operate under the Woke agenda?
Normal teachers just do not want to work with or even associate with a bunch of disrespectful woke unicorn teachers. A lot of the woke teachers engage in high risk multi partner relations which will likely turn our schools into a petri dish breeding hotbed of monkey pox and God knows what other sexually transmittable illness.
The normal teachers are getting out any way they can, be it early retirement, or just packing it in and moving on to a safer job which does not involve grooming childern.
Can anyone blaim the normal teachers for seeing the logic of getting out while they can?
IMO The NEA and local school board are a detriment to students and parents. How a group of educated people bought into the trans-gender dysforia farce is beyond logic.
Do you really want to put up with poor student behavior and liberal management oversight when there are easier ways to make a living that pay more?
Governor will only talk about woke indoctrination and transgender issues. He will not go near the teacher shortage topic.