NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced initiatives for the next legislative session to help tackle the teacher shortage in the state and bring more professionals into the field.
DeSantis held a news conference Tuesday morning at a high school in New Port Richey.
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Florida is not alone in facing problems filling teacher positions and in an effort to help, the governor said there will be three initiatives proposed in the next legislative session.
- A governor’s recruitment program to bring in retired military veterans, first responders, law enforcement, EMTs, paramedics and firefighters who have a bachelor’s degree to bring “leadership and wisdom into the classroom,” DeSantis said.
- A teacher apprenticeship program that will give apprentices two years of teaching under a mentor to “gain real-world classroom experience.”
- A new scholarship program that would give high school teachers the opportunity to obtain their master’s degree and teach dual-enrollment classes at the high schools they work at.
“We’ve done an awful lot in education. There’s not been a single state that’s done more than we have over the last few years. However, there’s more to do and we want to make sure that we’re leaning in, leaning forward and meeting the challenges that are before us as a state throughout all the communities in Florida,” DeSantis said.
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said these initiatives help boost teachers education and bring in people with “skills that are ready made and we can’t teach.”
“You’re looking at these professionals who have given their life to public service, and oftentimes they retire at an early age where they can they still have the incentive and the time to work and what better place to have them than in front of our young people in a classroom. I mean, they have to, again, they have commitment, and if they’re ready to serve in the classroom, we can provide mentorship and assistance to make sure we enhance the tools in the classroom,” Diaz said.
Diaz said the apprenticeship program gives people with an interest in education an opportunity to be paired with a teacher and provide them real-life experience.
“There’s nothing in any book or any professor can teach you to really realize until you face that classroom with the students. So that apprenticeship program is really going to provide another pipeline and as you can see, this is a systematic way for us to increase the teachers, the knowledge, the military pathway, the bonuses, the apprenticeship, that dual enrollment scholarships,” he said.
Earlier this year, DeSantis approved $800 million in the state’s budget for teacher pay initiatives.
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