The Florida teacher shortage is getting worse and teacher testing and the teaching licensing rules are making it much worse than it should be. I worked a little with RedfinED on their story on Charter School teacher shortages and they confirmed much of what we have been saying – too many good teachers are being thrown out of the classroom because of teacher testing.

The Shortage is increasing!chart1 


Why are there so many open positions?

  • Florida students graduating with an education degree has fallen by nearly 5,000 since 2006.[ii]
  • In 2008, there were 9,012 education program completers, by 2015 it was down to 5,612 – a 38% drop
  • In 2014, 2,477 teachers came from out of state and in just one year that more than doubled to 5,124 teachers from out of state – but Florida cannot depend on other states for its teacher[iii]
  • Public school enrollment has grown from 2.6 million in 2008 to 2.8 million in 2015 [iv]

chart 2

Can alternative certification help?

  • Texas does not have a shortage and more than 50% of its teachers come from– and those teachers have a 70% 5 year retention rate. As education majors dropped, alternative certification increased to cover that drop
  • Florida only gets 32% of its teachers from alternative certification – and that percentage has stayed constant. As education majors dropped, so did the numbers completing alternative certification.
  • Florida Teachers of Tomorrow has had over 2,400 applicants in the program but only 160 have been admitted – this is due to the length of time it takes to get an SOE, people lose interest, as well as the confusing array of options that result in people not completing a given route.


  • Delays from FLDOE – it is taking up to 6 months for a person to get their Statement of Eligibility (SOE) to teach – we see this first hand with Florida Teachers of Tomorrow
  • Alternative certification teachers don’t complete a program – 35% of Temp Certificate teachers in Florida do not move on to a professional certificate. We lose way too many teachers through the alternative route. [v]
  • General Knowledge Test – alternative certification teachers demonstrate general knowledge while enrolled in their program. Over 1,040 teacher are out of a job after failing state tests in spite of effective evaluations.[vi] But those enrolled in an EPI had a 31% greater pass rate than those not enrolled. [vii]

Bottom line: current certification rule makes it easy to get into teaching but 35% will leave teaching because they don’t finish a program.  We have to stop the outflow of teachers.

[i] Florida’s teacher shortage is ‘real and its going to get worse’, State Board of Ed member worries, Gradebook, Tampa Bay Times August 18, 2018

[ii] Florida School districts wrestle with teacher shortage, Orlando Sentinel, February 10, 2017

[iii] U.S. Department of Education Title II Reports for 2015-2016,

[iv] Datacenter Kidscount, Florida state student enrollment

[v] Teacher Recruitment and Retention Presentation to the State Board of Education, August 2016

[vi] At least 1,040 FL teachers out of jobs after failing state test, despite ‘effective’ evaluations, ABC Action News Tampa Bay, August 1, 2018

[vii] Florida State Board of Education powerpoint presentation from Bureau of Postsecondary Assessment, March 2, 2016

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