Statewide Teaching Shortages Affecting Local School Districts

Teachers cope with shortages
Teachers cope with shortages(wcjb)
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:26 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:27 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Florida’s teaching vacancies have now exceeded 5,000 for the first time according to the Florida Education Association.

The teaching shortage is now double what it was just two years ago. In Marion County, the teaching shortage is at a crisis level.

The number of Florida teaching vacancies is now over 5,000. But a glance at local school districts shows Columbia County has only 13 openings, Alachua County with 36 openings, and Marion County with more than 190 current teaching vacancies.

Kevin Christian, Public Relations of Marion County Public Schools, said, “were definitely feeling it more as a district, given the fact that a lot of colleges and universities are not turning out as many teaching certificates or degrees as they used to.”

Speaking with some students here at UF. One of the reasons they cite as to why they don’t want to enter the teaching profession is a lack of pay.

Starting teacher salaries are no $47,500, so why aren’t new recruits signing up?

“I think it shapes the lives of a lot of kids, its like one of the most important jobs in America, I think its just hard, when I do consider things like pay, and stuff like that”, said Elsa Brantmeyer, a U.F. student.

Donald Webster, a UF undergrad, said ,”they can make a lot more money doing other work in the private sector with numbers and stuff like that, in comparison to teaching.”

But for some, pay is not the only consideration.

“Becoming the new normal, that you don’t show respect to each other and you don’t show kindness to each other and you just do what ever you want to do”, said Donna Pilling, a retired school teacher.

“The kids that come in, yes absolutely they have changed, I think the social norms have changed”, said Tom Pilling, a retired school teacher.

Marion County hopes to plug the gape through programs which will streamline the certification process and also lure those in other professions.

Career change is a new program to help entice professionals from other careers into teaching.

Christian said, “Many times we find professionals who finished let’s say an accounting degree and they lived in the accounting world, done that for many years and now they’re retired from that, now they can be locally certified to be a math teacher.”

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