Education 

Florida teacher shortage is not a myth

When government faces a problem, the response often goes through three stages before its tackled.

Step 1: Deny that the problem exists. It’s just a few noisy people lying to you for their selfish political interests.

Step 2: The problem exists but not to the extent or for the reasons critics claimed.

Step 3: The problem is real and we’ve been addressing it for some time despite the harping of critics.

Florida now has a teacher shortage problem. And unsurprisingly, the state of Florida is in Stage 1 with one foot in Stage 2.

A recently released Florida Education Association survey tallied 5,294 vacancies in Florida public schools. The survey noted that five years ago, the state had only 1,492 vacancies.

The Florida Department of Education disputed the number, talked about the “myth” of a teacher shortage, and blamed the teachers union for twisting number to create a fake problem. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Pay no attention to that substitute teacher wandering the halls trying to find the right classroom.

Wadsworth Elementary School teacher Lesley Poland greets students heading to classes, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, as Flagler County students return on the first day of school.

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Yet this report of shortages jibes with other surveys. Like a report issued last summer by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute that found the teacher shortage to be more than a passing pandemic problem and that Florida had the worst shortage of any state.

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