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School starts in less than a month; New method to fill teaching vacancies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — School starts in less than a month and Florida has over 9,000 teaching vacancies to fill. In an effort to fill those spots, the state has changed its teaching requirements for military veterans and their spouses.

Effective the first of this month, military veterans who have not received their Bachelor’s degree will get a 5-year temporary certificate allowing them to teach in public schools.

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Elwood R. Thomas, Teacher at TP & Former Army Infantry Officer says, “I think it’s ludicrous because right now we have people that have Bachelor’s and Master’s that are not being brought into the classroom, not being paid.”

The Florida commissioner of education disagrees, however. Manny Diaz says, “Structure, you are talking about being on time, being committed to something, follow through, those things are incredibly important in our classroom.” The Florida commissioner of education also believes that spouses can bring valuable experiences to the classrooms because of how often that they’ve had to travel as well.

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This 5-year teaching certificate would allow them to earn a Bachelor’s degree for up to 5 years in teaching while being mentored.

In order to qualify for this certificate, the veterans will need 48 months of military service, 60 college credits, a minimum 2.5 GPA, a passed state exam and employment in a state school district.

Colonel Len Loving, 5 Star Veterans Center says, “I would think it would have certain benefits to the students. I think most people that you would put in that position be fairly disciplined.”

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Along with the heavy workload and adjusted learning due to the pandemic, the National Education Association also says that behavioral issues have consistently been one of the reasons that teachers are leaving the classrooms. Many believe this discipline will rub off on the students.

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Sydny Pepper, Action News Jax

Sydny Pepper is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.

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