DeSantis Wants To Hire Retired Cops And First Responders As Teachers

Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis has touted a proposal to place retired police officers in vacant teaching positions.

By Erika Hanson | Published

National Teacher Unions Have Lost 200,000 Members

retired police

Across the United States, states are scrambling with staggering teacher shortages. Many are concocting peculiar, innovative ways to fill classrooms with people that can teach. Florida has taken to hiring foreign educators, and even military veterans. Now, the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, wants to take steps further, and hire retired police officers to fill vacant teaching positions.

DeSantis touted the proposal during a press conference on Tuesday morning in New Port Richey. He noted that if approved, the ruling would work the same as the law that currently allows veterans to teach. Also, he said that he would like to allow all first responders, not just retired police, to be able to fill vacant teaching positions. According to The Tampa Bay Times, the gov. added that the state would waive examination fees for those interested.

First responders must have a bachelor’s degree to qualify. Retired police officers and others that qualify would be eligible to receive $4,000 bonuses. On top of that, open positions deemed to be in high demand would earn some an extra $1,000. 

Florida is struggling exceptionally from the teacher shortage. According to recent state data, the Sunshine State is short nearly 9,000 educators in total. DeSantis, along with the state’s Education Commissioner, Manny Diaz, Jr. are hopeful that placing veterans, retired police, paramedics, and firefighters inside classrooms will be a win-win for all involved.

During his speech, DeSantis said that those who have served in community positions “have an awful lot to offer.” He noted that many retired police officers are looking for the next “chapter in their life.” This initiative follows a string of other police-backing measures DeSantis has undertaken to support law enforcement.

Previously, the governor incentivized cops into the state with extensive hiring bonuses. When enacted, he prompted them to leave democratic cities for the southern state, insinuating that metro, blue areas were not supportive of law enforcement. DeSantis similarly promoted this program, along with his new one aimed at retired police, as a possibility for some who would like to make the move to Florida law enforcement and down the line switch to teaching in the classroom.

retired police

While DeSantis and other Floridians are on board with the retired police and veterans teaching program, not everyone agrees with the measure. Others, especially many current educators, have criticized the measure. They feel that it is a disregard for the extensive time and effort teachers put in to earn their degrees in education. They don’t see how first responders and military personnel are any better equipped to fill classrooms than others.

DeSantis retorted to those opposed to the measure. A military vet himself, he clapped back at those calling the program a lazy attempt to fill schools with any warm bodies. “People that serve our country are not just some warm body.” He said as he added that those who have served in the military, and those who serve communities are well equipped to run classrooms. For now, the retired police proposal is just an idea, however. The proposed legislation will be up for consideration during the next legislative session, which starts next March.