Florida’s teachers’ union announced on Thursday the state has 7,000 teacher vacancies in its public schools, and then blamed the governor.
This, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education reforms to increase teacher pay and offer other incentives for current and prospective Florida educators.
“The sad reality is that Gov. DeSantis and his legislative allies’ anti-education agenda is harming Florida’s children,” reads FEA’s press release. “These politicians hope that by causing sustained chaos in public schools, they can undermine parents’ trust in their child’s neighborhood school with the ultimate goal of having a fully privatized education system.”
However, many states – both red and blue – are reporting teacher shortages, suggesting the problem lies elsewhere. Even thoroughly Democratic cities, such as New York and Baltimore, are in dire straits.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently mandated smaller class sizes in NYC public schools, which will force the city to hire nearly 18,000 new teachers.
Baltimore City Public Schools also needs at least 1,000 new teachers in order to be fully staffed.
And California will need to hire over 22,000 teachers for new or vacated positions, many of which are for the state’s transitional kindergarten program.
So while Florida has a lower teacher concentration than some states, it certainly isn’t alone.
And despite the union’s charge, DeSantis has passed many measures to support teachers, including paycheck protection, allowing teachers to restrict cell phone and social media use in the classroom, and offering $3,000 bonuses to teachers who participate in a civic education workshop.
“For far too long, unions and rogue school boards have pushed around our teachers, misused government funds for political purposes, [and] taken money from teacher’s pockets,” DeSantis said in a press release after increasing teacher pay.
“I want to thank our legislative leaders and the many bill sponsors for working with us to empower our teachers,” he concluded.