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‘Casualty of the situation:’ Experts blame politics for trend in fewer superintendent applications

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The search for Duval County’s next top educator is now on pause after the district received just ten applications. It’s a trend several major Florida districts faced this year during superintendent searches and some experts blame politics.

“You’re seeing thinner candidate pools. You’re seeing districts hire people less experienced, and that’s just the casualty of the situation we’re in,” Doug Roberts, the founder of the Institute for Education Innovation, said.

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The Institute for Education Innovation has a community of superintendents. Doug said a RAND Corporation study showed on average superintendents stayed at a district less than three years and he blamed the political culture they’re faced with like policies including the so-called book ban, what critics call “don’t say gay”, and the bathroom bill.

“If you have a new superintendent every few years, you’re much less likely to have a successful outcome for students,” he said. “These political issues are driving people out of the work.”

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A look at Florida’s top three largest districts which also went through a superintendent search this year show a similar trend, although not as noticeable as Duval (Duval school board to re-advertise superintendent job, will not move forward with current candidates – Action News Jax).

Broward County had 26 applicants, Brevard had 33, and Osceola had 32. Duval had 10 candidates, and the board said only half met the minimum requirements. However, all searches were just a fraction of the 70 candidates DCPS had back in 2018.

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Action News Jax reached out to the Department of Education and Governor’s Office for comment on the current administration’s policies and possible impact on recruitment in education. We have not yet heard back.

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