America’s Student Suffer Under Biden Admin

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The issue of teacher shortages in Florida has escalated, with nearly 7,000 teaching posts left unfilled as students return post-summer break.

In January, the Florida Education Association (FEA) reported 5,294 teacher openings. Additionally, there were 4,631 spots open for support staff.

FEA’s Andrew Spar mentioned to Newsweek that this was the most severe staffing crisis Florida has witnessed to date. However, this crisis has only intensified.

By August 7, there were 6,920 teacher vacancies, as reported by FEA’s recent data. As the school term resumed on August 10 for the majority of districts, there were another 5,072 vacant roles for support staff.

The FEA attributes this alarming rise in vacancies to the educational policies set by Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis, still lagging behind ex-President Donald Trump in the polls for the GOP’s presidential nomination, has been active in advancing conservative measures, especially those targeting what he perceives as left-leaning narratives in educational institutions.

His endorsements cover a broad spectrum of educational policies, such as the Stop WOKE Act of the previous year, which restricts discussions on race in educational settings. He also approved a bill earlier this year that critics label the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity across grade levels.

Additionally, the recent adaptation of the Black history curriculum by the Florida Board of Education, a response to DeSantis’ signed legislation, has faced criticism for its portrayal of slaves’ skills as personally beneficial in certain circumstances.

Andrew Spar commented, “Countless Florida students will not have the school kick-off they’re entitled to.”

He added that DeSantis’ policies are indirectly forming alliances, as various stakeholders unite to challenge his policies and advocate for improvements. The collaboration of students, parents, educators, and community members aims to craft a Florida where every student can succeed.

However, a representative for DeSantis informed Newsweek that the unfilled positions only represent a small percentage of all teaching posts in the state.

Bryan Griffin clarified in April that with a total of 185,000 educators in Florida, the vacant posts, as of September, make up roughly 2.4% of all teaching positions, translating to an average of 1.2 vacancies per institution. He argued this doesn’t signify a recruitment or retention issue.

Yet, Spar, along with other educators, highlighted that inadequate compensation plays a significant role in the high vacancy rates.

On the national scale, Florida ranks 48th in terms of average teacher salaries, as per the National Education Association’s statistics. The average salary stands at $51,230, while newly-recruited teachers generally start at $45,171.

Brandt Robinson, an educator from Dunedin High School, shared with Newsweek, “When you factor in inflation and rising living costs, many educators notice that their pay hasn’t effectively increased since I began teaching in 1998.”