For students to learn anything, Florida needs educators

TALLAHASSEE — As Gov. DeSantis today signs HB 7, a bill based on a manufactured political narrative, the Florida Education Association (FEA) must call out the fact that our students would be better served by addressing their real and immediate needs. The “critical” issue facing Florida’s schools is not how students are learning history, but whether there are enough professional educators to teach them, bus drivers to transport them, custodians to clean their classrooms and food-service workers to provide them with meals.

“No matter where we live or what we look like, we all want what’s best for our kids. Parents and educators want to help students grow into well-informed, successful adults who are equipped to think for themselves. The full, fair facts of history are part of a high-quality education,” said Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar. “For students to learn anything, however, we need to address the 9,000 projected teacher vacancies and more than 5,000 current vacancies for support staff in our public schools.”

Instead of solving real problems, HB 7 will bring politics into the classroom and stoke division in local school districts. The new law will compromise educators’ ability to teach accurate, honest history from kindergarten through college. Beyond the impact on education through censorship, HB 7 is likely to:

  • Impose a financial cost on PreK-12 public schools, colleges and universities. Taxpayers in local districts may be on the hook for needless lawsuits generated by the new law, while institutions of higher education can face financial penalties for any substantiated violation.
  • Increase the critical educator shortage, with more potential teachers choosing to avoid the profession, current teachers leaving and higher education faculty opting to reject positions on Florida campuses because of restrictive, punitive legislation.

“Certain politicians may attempt to divide us, but parents, teachers, staff, administrators and communities are on the same team when it comes to our students,” said President Spar. “We’re working together to ensure that every child — regardless of race, background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ZIP code or ability — gets the education that he or she deserves and needs.”


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.

Visit the FEA Voter Toolkit

The November 8 General Election is just around the corner and education will be a central issue during this critical election season. The FEA Voter Toolkit has election resources and endorsed candidates for local school Boards, the Florida House and Florida Senate, and Governor.

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