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

This multi-part series, first published in 2019, takes 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. Too often, however, politicians have failed Florida’s future.  

Over the past two decades the state Legislature and governors have shortchanged 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 48th in average teacher salary. Low pay and bad policies created an unprecedented teacher shortage in Florida even before the pandemic – meaning all students don’t have access to the certified, professional educators they deserve and their parents expect. 

Certain politicians have put their own interests, and those of their corporate donors, ahead of the interests of Florida’s children and families. In this series, we 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 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 

Solutions: Florida’s Legislature can address many of the issues facing our schools. The FEA is advocating for changes during the upcoming 2022 session — changes that will help ensure that Florida’s students get the high quality education they deserve. 

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