Aug 15, 2022 - News

Miami-Dade to start school year with more than 200 teacher vacancies

Illustration of a handwriting alphabet above the chalkboard spells out "Hiring."
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Miami-Dade students head back to school Wednesday as the school district scrambles to fill a shortage of 224 teachers, district spokesperson Elmo Lugo tells Axios.

Driving the news: The Florida Education Association teachers union is reporting more than 8,000 teacher vacancies statewide as this school year starts, up from just under 5,000 this time last year.

  • In Miami-Dade, the greatest need is in special education and math, Lugo says.

The big picture: School districts across the U.S. are turning to extraordinary measures in a desperate effort to get more teachers into classrooms this year, our Axios Local colleagues report.

  • In Florida, the state Department of Education announced it would issue a temporary teaching certificate to military veterans "who have not yet earned their bachelor's degree" after a new law took effect last month.

Of note: Miami-Dade tells Axios the district hasn’t yet seen applicants from the program to recruit veterans as teachers, which has been promoted by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • The district is holding hiring events to try to fill the vacancies, CBS reports.

What they're saying: Karla Hernández-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade union, blames Republicans for issues driving teachers away, such as gun proliferation, book banning, painting teachers as "groomers" and the raiding of a state fund for affordable housing.

  • "We have extremist legislators in Tallahassee and Gov. DeSantis, who's just doing all these things that are really impacting in a negative way our public schools," she tells Axios.
  • Military experience and teaching skills are not interchangeable, she said: “Here are the hardworking individuals who care so much about children, have gotten their bachelor's and master's and specialist degrees – and now you're saying that all the hard work and education that they put in doesn't matter.”

Yes, but: The union has endorsed two Republicans and two Democrats for the nonpartisan school board primary races now underway, she said.

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