Facing a derth of qualified teachers – or teachers of any kid, really – Florida public schools are now turning to military veterans to fill vacancies in the classroom.
The Florida state legislature just passed a bill that would allow qualifying military veterans to obtain a temporary teaching certificate and serve as substitute teachers in the Sunshine State. To date, the state has reportedly already received more than 80 applications.
To qualify for the Military Veterans Certification Pathway program, a veteran must have served at least four years in the military with an honorable discharge, have earned at least 60 college credit hours, and have maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA. They will then be paired with a mentor teacher to guide them through the early steps of the process.
Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz told Fox News that the program is “a great pathway for us to be able to have our veterans, in this veteran-friendly state, to step up to the plate,” adding that when it comes to basic life lessons like time management and discipline, “the structure and skills that [the veterans] have will be valuable in the classroom.”
“This is important in our classrooms because we’re missing some of that with today’s younger generation," he said.
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Like many states across the country, Florida is struggling under a massive teacher shortage heading into the 2022-23 school year, with literally hundreds of open positions now sitting vacant. As of last week, Brevard County Public Schools still listed 179 classroom teacher openings, Osceola County Public Schools had 271, and Orange County Public Schools still needed to fill 167 positions – all with school starting in just a few weeks.
Even still, teachers are reportedly unhappy with the move to let veterans serve as teachers despite not having licenses.
"It sucks to see all these good teachers leaving because they are burned out and Florida is expensive to live [in] now, and we cannot afford [it] with our teachers' salary," one teacher calling posted on TikTok, per Newsweek. "So then the good idea was to put people that have no education on education."
To be honest, given the pushback by some school faculty over a state bill that banned teaching sex to kindergarteners, and considering the garbage race-baiting and LGBTQ propaganda we’ve seen being shoved through the school system in recent years, I’ll take veterans any day.