More than 7,500 advertised openings for teachers and educational support staff, potentially leaving hundreds of thousands of students without a full-time teacher
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – New teacher vacancy numbers show that halfway through the school year there are still 4,096 advertised instructional vacancies in Florida schools and 3,457 support staff vacancies, for a total of 7,553 vacancies across the K-12 system. The shortages include classroom aides, English language learner (ELL) and ESE paraprofessionals, and bus drivers. Because of ongoing shortages, there has also been a year-over-year increase in the amount of core courses like English, Reading, Science and Math that are being taught by teachers who are not certified in that field, up 7% from 55,405 to 59,134.
“We’ve all heard the Governor’s talking points about his investments in teachers and education, but the Governor won’t tell you the truth about education in Florida, which is that our state ranks 48th in the nation in average teacher salary, 43rd in the nation in per student spending, and doesn’t even crack the top ten in average teacher starting salary or average earnings for K-12 education support professionals,” said Andrew Spar, President of the Florida Education Association. “He won’t share the stories of teachers who are being forced out of the state or the profession entirely due to low pay and untenable working conditions because of bad policy. He won’t tell you that Florida is one of a handful of states that won’t be helping students access food though a federal summer food assistance program at a time when food insecurity is rising in the state. The Governor won’t tell you these things because he’s too focused on voters in New Hampshire, Iowa or South Carolina— not citizens in Florida. Voters in Florida know what they want- full-time, highly trained teachers who will help inspire our children- and they are getting tired of seeing students and communities suffer because of bad policy. If our Governor isn’t going to share the real story about education in Florida, we will.”
While the vacancy numbers have slightly improved from August 2023, new vacancy numbers only account for posted and advertised vacancies, meaning the number could be greater. Typically, vacancies decrease halfway through the school year because of hiring surges at the start of the school year. But the newly released numbers show this is not the case. The fact of the matter is, Florida— a state that has seen repeated years with record surplus and touts high rankings in “educational freedom”— is not moving the needle on teacher shortages fast enough. A shortage of more than 4,000 teachers is more than the population of teachers in 19 of Florida’s smallest counties combined. Four thousand teacher vacancies means that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of students in Florida who do not have access to a full-time teacher.
Our Governor and leaders should be looking at real investments that would help make our educational ecosystem one of the strongest in the nation. We must encourage leaders to fund teacher pay so that our teachers are ranked in the top ten, not the bottom three, make investments in mental health and student safety, improve teacher working conditions, ensure education support professionals have the resources they need to help students, and get fringe politics out of the classroom so teachers and educational staff can continue to do what they do best- help Florida’s students grow and thrive.
The Florida Education Association counts vacancies posted on district websites twice annually, in August and January. A county-by-county breakdown of the vacancy numbers can be found here.
CONTACT: FEA Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 201-3223
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 120,000 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.