Attacking educators does not help our students

Regarding SB 256, the Florida Education Association would note first: Politicians will not solve Florida’s teacher and staff shortage by attacking the rights of teachers and staff. Attempting to silence the people who along with parents care most deeply about Florida’s children will do not one whit of good for our students. Curtailing educators’ freedoms and threatening their right to join together as a union will in fact only worsen the staffing crisis, leaving more students without professionally trained teachers and the support staff necessary to meet their needs.

“Teachers, support staff and higher education faculty are working with students because they love it; they love their jobs. They make the personal choice to join their union because they want more support and resources for their students and themselves. They want to know they are not alone in a system that sometimes seems rigged against them and our students,” said FEA President Andrew Spar. “Gov. DeSantis says he supports ‘teacher empowerment,’ but this bill does the exact opposite. It’s an attack, pure and simple, on educators’ basic freedoms and rights. When you stand up for what you believe or when you stand up for something the governor disagrees with, he comes after you, as we’ve seen with Disney, the College Board, elected officials and now Florida’s professors, teachers and staff.”

Florida’s shortage of teachers and school support staff has grown more severe in recent years. From January 2018 to January 2023, the number of teaching vacancies listed on district websites went from 1,492 to 5,294. Counting teachers and staff, there were 9,925 total vacancies posted this January, midway of the school year.

“This attack on educators’ freedom to join in union with their colleagues is just one more in a long line of insults and injuries to public schools and institutions of higher education, our students and us as professionals,” Spar said. “We have new laws that threaten to punish educators for teaching honest history, extremists pushed onto school boards, book bans. Teachers hear about big pay increases, but our state remains stuck near the bottom nationally in average teacher pay, and experienced educators were pushed to the back of the line. And now this. It’s no surprise that at some point people say, enough.”

While Gov. DeSantis seeks to bring divisive politics into our classrooms, the Florida Education Association seeks to unify Floridians on behalf of strong public schools, colleges and universities. We want to work together with parents, lawmakers and our communities to provide all students — regardless of race, background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ZIP code or ability — with the education they deserve and need at fully funded and staffed public schools.


CONTACT: Joni Branch, joni.branch@floridaea.org, (850) 201-3223

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

UFF Files Federal Suit Against University Arbitration Ban

On Tuesday, Aug. 15, the United Faculty of Florida (UFF), the UFF chapter at the University of South Florida and three individual faculty members who were laid off from the…

Read more about UFF Files Federal Suit Against University Arbitration Ban

Back to school, missing nearly 7,000 teachers

TALLAHASSEE — Each child gets only one first day of kindergarten, one first day of middle school and one first day of their senior year. Florida’s educators are dedicated to…

Read more about Back to school, missing nearly 7,000 teachers

FEA files federal lawsuit against SB 256

As was announced today at a virtual press conference, the Florida Education Association (FEA) and three affiliated unions have filed a federal lawsuit against Senate Bill (SB) 256, which was…

Read more about FEA files federal lawsuit against SB 256

FEA leadership: We stand united for our students

Let us say first, we are honored to lead this organization and to have you as a member.

Read more about FEA leadership: We stand united for our students

Help for kids who are hurting

Through Steve’s Club, Cori Lake Walls wants to ensure no grieving student goes unnoticed or unheard

Read more about Help for kids who are hurting

$1,200 worth of turkeys and a lot of love

Lakisha Ayers-White and her student volunteers provide supplies for Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings to dozens of union families

Read more about $1,200 worth of turkeys and a lot of love