Florida tops education rankings but lags in teacher pay

Florida ranks highest in academic rankings but falls behind in terms of teacher salaries

This year, Florida rated first in education for the second consecutive year, according to U.S. News & World Report. But the National Education Association claims that teacher pay is almost last.

Reina Atkins, a student at Robinson High School, claims that this is the reason her math teacher abruptly quit in the middle of the academic year.

“He came in on a Friday, and he said that he could not afford to teach at our school anymore,” Atkins said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared at a press conference on Monday that the Sunshine State will soon have the highest beginning salary in the Southeast. According to Governor DeSantis, the funding for teacher salaries will total $1.25 billion in the upcoming year, a $200 million rise from the previous one. According to DeSantis, Florida has experienced the largest increase in teacher pay in the state’s history during the last five years.

“Florida’s education system is number one in the nation, and we want to make sure good educators are attracted to Florida with attractive compensation,” stated Governor DeSantis.

The typical starting teacher wage in Florida is over $48,000, while the average teacher salary in the state is over $54,000, according to the Florida Department of Education. Although Florida now ranks somewhat higher on the list, we are still far from the top.

According to Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, “it’s really our responsibility to put the best highly qualified teachers in the classroom.” “Our biggest investment by far is the children that we serve in various communities across this great state.”

On Monday, DeSantis, Diaz, and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez discussed unions extensively, claiming that they are politicized and biased against the needs of educators and students. DeSantis, according to Andrew Spar, the head of the Florida Education Association (FEA), has declined to meet with his organization.

“Ask any teacher; they’ll provide answers. The first step is to be truthful rather than attempting to promote a misleading story. The first steps are to collaborate with us rather than place blame on us, and to put the needs of the students first rather than continually criticizing people who genuinely care about children.”

The union and DeSantis’ staff concurred that there are other factors besides teacher compensation that are keeping teachers out of the classroom. According to the FEA, Florida has some of the worst national rates for teacher vacancies.

Governor Ron DeSantis stated, “We’ve done a lot to be able to help teachers, even apart from salary.” “The duration of temporary teaching certificates has been increased from three to five years. Additionally, we did away with pointless bureaucratic certification procedures.”

According to DeSantis, the benefit of the way this was drafted is that the funds designated for teacher compensation are non-refundable, meaning that all of the money goes directly into the pockets of educators. When funds intended for school choice vouchers were instead used to purchase Disney tickets and televisions, he faced criticism the previous year.

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