The teacher shortage has been growing for years. Since well before the pandemic, interest in the teaching profession has waned and a will to remain educating students for decades has followed. More than half of American teachers have admitted that they plan to quit or retire early. Because of this, some school districts have been forced to seek aid from outside traditional means. In Florida, veterans were recently given the opportunity to become teachers, but some educators feel threatened by this measure and have publicly decried updates to the state’s Department of Education policy.
Angry teachers went online over the weekend to attack the measure allowing troops to teach in schools. These teachers seemed to assume that Florida veterans who are eligible for the fast-tracked teaching program will not be trained and that training and experiences serving the country are invalid.
One Twitter user claimed that “Desantis Destroys Florida” by helping Florida veterans become teachers. This is a courier remark being that although the state’s politics are different from many states, it has recovered from the devastating pandemic response faster than blue states. In addition, Florida has committed to protecting the rights of healthy Americans and has a booming economy.
Another teacher assumed that allowing Florida veterans to enter the classroom without a standard bachelor’s degree in quality teaching would be impossible. One may wonder what she thinks of substitute teachers, being that many states allow substitutes to fill in for educators with a 2-year degree or even just a high school diploma. Furthermore, throughout the teacher shortage, these substitutes have been filling in on a regular basis.
On TikTok Millennial Ms. Frizzel, a teacher who feels she is an expert on the military because she worked in a school situated next to a military base, declared that the move to help Florida veterans and their families find purpose in teaching is a sinister plot to widen the “school to prison” pipeline, arm teachers without having to pay for training, and install educators who will “blindly follow orders even if they disagree.” She blindly assumes that all military vets were “abused” by their drill sergeants and that they will abuse students without citing evidence of such cases or noting the various successful military schools throughout the country, and acts as if this is a completely new development.
In truth, The Don Hahnfeldt Veteran and Military Family Opportunity Act was already in place; it has merely been updated to make it easier for military personnel and their family members to teach if they have acquired at least 60 credit hours of college, pass bachelor’s degree level tests, and have served in the military for at least 4 years. This follows the pathway that was previously set up by a partnership between the Department of Defense and the Department of Education in the 1990s that created the Troops to Teachers program. Training Florida veterans to become educators is not a new concept, nor have there been various cases of teachers who served in the military abusing children. There has, however, been an uptick in public school teachers physically and sexually abusing children.
Florida veterans are not allowed to teach without training through the state’s new rules, the criteria is just changed. While some believe that individuals who are only skilled in teaching should be in the classroom, many others support moves that bring a wide variety of pillars of the community into the educational process to help students find success exploring various topics. And for now, this measure will help keep schools running smoothly.