Govt. Ron DeSantis is rolling out new proposals aimed at bringing teachers to Florida as shortages affect districts across the state.
One such proposal could remove first responders, including former police officers, firefighters and EMTs, from these high-pressure environments and move them to K-12 classrooms.
DeSantis said his proposed governor’s recruiting program was “focused on our heroes,” seeking to bring in former first responders the way former military are now eligible for rental.
“We will waive exam fees for state teacher certification,” DeSantis promised, offering a $4,000 bonus for all recruits and an additional $1,000 incentive for teachers who tackle “acute shortages” in the classroom.
“Science, SEE, reading,” DeSantis illustrated. “These are all very important.”
“We have people who have served in law enforcement, who have retired and are now looking for the next chapter in their lives,” DeSantis explained.
education commissioner Manny Diaz was on board
“Sheriff, maybe we’ll go back to those rows behind you to recruit,” Diaz joked.
“What better place to have them than in front of our kids in class?”
DeSantis has rolled out other proposals beyond expanding eligibility to former first responders, including a two-year apprenticeship program for teachers that would allow anyone with an associate’s degree in arts to gain “real-world classroom experience” under the guidance of a mentor.
“What makes a teacher great is being there, doing it,” DeSantis said.
Mentors would receive bonuses of $4,000 per trainee.
DeSantis has rolled out a second proposal tailored to current teachers, a scholarship program to allow current teachers to earn a master’s degree so they can teach increasingly popular dual-enrollment classes. More than 92,000 students took these courses last year, allowing students to earn college credits while still in K-12.
DeSantis was in Pasco County on Tuesday, at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey, when he made the remarks. After his official announcement, a reporter asked about recruiting international teachers, but DeSantis did not accept the proposal.
“I don’t want to go with a stranger rather than someone from our communities,” DeSantis said.
Following the Governor’s announcement, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fried Nikki denounced the proposal.
“Let’s be clear: we shouldn’t lower the bar for teachers in Florida. Instead of paying teachers what they are worth and agreeing to stop politicizing their work, DeSantis is trying to let Floridians with no experience and minimal training teach our children.
“It’s not rocket science: We have a teacher shortage crisis because DeSantis has turned classrooms into battlegrounds to wage his culture wars and divide our state. Allowing anyone to teach without a certificate will push Florida even further up the rankings when it comes to the quality of our education, and our children will ultimately pay the price,” Fried said, before saying the real problem is the remuneration of currently qualified persons. teachers.
There are plenty of qualified people who would love to be certified teachers if they were paid enough to make ends meet and didn’t have to buy basic school supplies with their own money. This is unfortunately just another fight in DeSantis’ war on public education and children in Florida.