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Bad Policy and Low Pay: How Florida is Undermining Student Success

Over the next few months this multi-part series will take a deep dive into the ways that Florida’s education policies have led to a full-scale crisis in the teaching profession.

Every student in Florida deserves to be in a classroom with a certified, highly-qualified, and dedicated teacher. Students deserve schools with full-time media specialists and schools that are staffed with more counselors and nurses than security guards. Florida’s students deserve the very best. Currently, Florida’s politicians are failing Florida’s future.  

Over the past two decades the Legislature and governors have shortchanged Florida’s students. Despite having a $1 trillion state economy – the 17th largest economy in the world – Florida is 43rd in the nation when it comes to total public education funding and 46th in average teacher salary. Because of this low pay and bad policies, Florida is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage – meaning all students don’t have access to the certified, professional educators they deserve and their parents expect. 

Tallahassee politicians have put their own interests, and those of their corporate donors, ahead of the interests of Florida’s children and families. Over the next few weeks we will take a deep dive into the ways that Florida’s education policies have led to a full-scale crisis in the teaching profession.  

More importantly, we’ll offer solutions that can be implemented this upcoming legislative session to get Florida back on the right track to meeting the constitutional mandate to provide a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools.” 

Part I: Low Pay — Why it matters to students and parents, how we got here, and how to recover  

Part II:  Value-Added Measures – Valuing meaningless data over high-quality instruction 

Part III: Annual Contracts An attack on teachers’ professionalism

Part IV: Test Mania – How Florida lost its focus on what matters in education 

Part V: Decade of Progress – Our vision for Florida’s public schools (coming soon)

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