Florida — On July 1, a new law went into effect that allows for military veterans to teach in a Florida classroom even if they do not have a teaching degree.
Critics and representatives of the teachers’ unions say this is an outrageous move and lowers the bar for quality instruction which will certainly hurt students.
According to the Senate, Florida expanded teaching opportunities for military veterans in 2018, which allowed the state to wave initial certification to teach for grades kindergarten through high school. However, those teaching any grade above sixth had to have some sort of advanced degree in the subject they were teaching.
Now, as of July 1, Florida is waiving all requirements for veterans and they do not even have to have a college degree. In fact, veterans will not even be restricted to which subject they can teach.
Something teachers across Florida say is a slap in the face to those who put in the time to earn their degrees.
The teachers union is also concerned about the mental health of many veterans being allowed in a classroom with students, especially small children.
Requirements for Veterans under the new law
- At least 48 months of military service with an honorable or medical discharge;
- At least 60 college credits with a 2.5 point grade average (out of 4) or above;
- A passing score on a Florida subject area exam for bachelor-level subjects; and
- A job in a Florida school district, including charter schools.
President of the Alachua County teachers union, Carmen Ward, in a public statement, said, “There are many people who have gone through many hoops and hurdles to obtain a proper teaching certificate. Teachers are very dismayed that now someone with just a high school education can pass the test and can easily get a five-year temporary certificate.”
The teachers union, said, “This move, without a doubt, will hinder students. The requirements under the new law are minimal and nothing compared to what certified teachers have gone through to become certified.” They went on to say, “Sixty college credits do not equal a teaching degree, and passing one exam in a subject is not the same as taking the state exam.”
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