Gov. DeSantis recruiting veterans into Florida classrooms amid teacher shortage across state
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - They served our country and now Gov. Ron DeSantis hopes veterans will also answer the call to serve in the classroom as Florida faces a teacher shortage.
Getting teachers in the door is no small task, so the governor is getting creative to help fill the gaps in the state by bringing veterans into schools to teach. He said it’s a program that will be beneficial for both the students and the veterans.
"Every morning our students recite the Pledge of Allegiance while looking at the Star-Spangled Banner," DeSantis said in a video. "It's fitting that the teacher in the classroom is somebody who took an oath and put his or her life on the line to preserve, protect and defend our flag and the freedom it represents."
The program is an expansion of the federal "Troops to Teachers" program, focused on getting qualified military veterans into the classroom. The governor said he believes veterans have a unique skill set that would really benefit students.
Through the program, veterans are able to obtain a five-year temporary teaching certificate while they’re still working towards their bachelor's degree. However, there’s still a checklist in place to make sure those interested in teaching are actually qualified to take on the job.
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Veterans must have a minimum of 48 months of military service with an honorable or medical discharge. They also must have a minimum of 60 college credits under their belt with at least a 2.5 GPA. In order to teach, they’ll also have to pass a Florida subject exam and a background check.
If veterans can check all these boxes, the governor said he thinks they’d be a great addition to the teaching workforce.
If they qualify and receive a temporary teaching certificate, veterans will be assigned a mentor teacher for at least two years who can support them on their teaching journey while working towards their degree. But getting a degree is also a big condition of the teaching certificate. Veterans must complete their bachelor's degree during the five-year period to be eligible for a full professional certificate.
The bill was signed into law by the governor over the summer, but the next step is for the State Board of Education to figure out how to implement the program with schools across Florida. The board will meet on August 17 to figure it out.
If you’re interested in applying for the program, click here to visit the Florida Department of Education website.