Florida schools allow veterans to teach without a degree
Florida has 9,000 teaching vacancies to fill before the end of the summer and the start of the new academic year. The state Department of Education announced last week that military veterans can now fill these roles.
“Our public schools are truly at a crisis level seeing this massive number of vacancies,” Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, told ABC Action News. “In 2010, 8,000 Florida college and university graduates became teachers. This number was between 2,000 and 3,000 for the year just ended. This is a significant drop.
Veterans will now receive a five-year voucher that will allow them to teach in the classroom without typical accreditation or the necessary training requirements that other certified teachers must possess.
The move is part of an $8.6 million statewide initiative to provide careers and workforce training to veterans and their dependents.
“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 good jobs, start or grow businesses. and support their families,” Florida said. Governor Ron DeSantis in a statement. “Business is booming in Florida, and employers are looking for the leadership skills, training and teamwork that military veterans bring to the workforce.”
The state Department of Education currently expects veteran applicants without a degree seeking teaching positions to have at least 60 college credits and a base average of 2.5 GPA. They must also pass the subject examination for bachelor level subjects.
In addition, their service must amount to 48 months in the army, with an honorable or medical discharge. If they are hired by a school, they must be supervised by an educational mentor.
Teachers and local unions, meanwhile, believe the move will lower the educational standard of Florida schools.
“You can’t just throw a hot body into a classroom, that’s not the answer,” Barry Dubin, president of the Sarasota County Teachers’ Association, told the Herald Tribune.
Although the shortage is dire, the decision to use veterans as a stopgap measure has educators questioning the state’s criteria for teachers.
“Many people have gone through many hurdles and hurdles to get a proper teaching certificate,” said Carmen Ward, president of the Alachua County Teachers’ Union. “(Educators) are very dismayed that now someone who only has a high school diploma can pass the test and can easily get a five-year temporary certificate.”
Sarah Sicard is an editor at the Military Times. Previously, she served as digital editor of the Military Times and editor-in-chief of the Army Times. Other work can be found in National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose and Defense News.