The state of Florida is reporting such a severe shortage of teachers that it has recently announced a program to hire military veterans and spouses with absolutely no teaching experience or educational qualification to teach our children. Counties across the state are reporting thousands of vacancies as teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers. Florida school districts are getting so desperate that they are bringing in unqualified people to fill the role of educating our future generation, even if they have no education certification, even if they only have a high school degree.

For years, Florida schools have been circling the drain while lawmakers ignore the problems, and there are many. The biggest problem is teacher pay. Nobody gets into the teaching profession to become rich, but people have to earn a livable wage. While teacher salaries have not kept up with the times, funding for teacher resources and supplies have also been cut, leaving more and more teachers having to go into their pockets to purchase the basic items needed in the classroom. There are many other problems that have infiltrated our schools, from politics to school safety, which all exacerbate the problem. But without being able to staff the critical role of the individuals who will educate and mentor our children with qualified people, we are sacrificing the future of this State.

Ironically, when it comes to law enforcement, it seems this State will spare no expense under the guise of caring about children. Every few weeks another county announces a multi-agency “operation” to check on the compliance of persons required to register as sex offenders, a population that already has a very low re-offense rate. In the meantime, last week Fox News reported that at least 181 K-12 teachers have been charged with sex crimes, 77% of which were against students.

The State has no restrictions when it comes to creating a byzantine list of arbitrary requirements to impose on an undesirable segment of the population even though the requirements have nothing to do with public safety or recidivism, and then hiring the staff to administer a useless sex offender registry, enforce it, prosecute petty offenses as felonies and incarcerate people who are guilty of harmless technical violations, such as forgetting to register a trailer, but no money when it comes to ensuring our children’s schools are safe, well equipped and properly staffed.

 

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