‘Our children are at stake:’ Teacher shortage in Florida among worst in the nation

WKMG Click Orlando | By Justin Warmoth | January 22, 2023

Justin Warmoth talks with Andrew Spar on ‘The Weekly’

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s public schools continue to deal with a shortage of teachers.

Vacancies have doubled in the Sunshine State over the last two years, and it’s estimated more than 100,000 students do not have a full-time teacher.

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, joined anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly” to explain why the shortage is getting worse and how it can improve.

“Our community is at stake, our future is at stake, our children are at stake,” Spar said. “I think the legislature understands, and I hope the governor does too, that we’ve go to dramatically increase the pay of all teachers in our schools. We’ve got to restore respect to the profession throughout the state of Florida. And we’ve got to make sure that we’re protecting that sacred bond between parents and teachers, between families and schools, because that’s ultimately what’s at the crux of a good education for every child.”

There were nearly 5,300 teacher openings statewide listed in January, up from just around 1,500 five years ago.

Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed lawmakers to boost starting teacher salaries to $47,500, which ranks 16th in the country. Overall though, Florida’s average teacher pay is ranked 49th.

“Florida, I think, is one of the worst in the nation,” Spar said. “There are some studies out there that show we have the second most number of vacancies in the nation right now.”

Watch the full interview here.

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