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Teacher Shortage in the State of Florida

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Area school officials say the teacher shortage in Florida is a major problem that's projected to get worse come this fall. The Sun Sentinel reports the much talked about teacher shortage in Florida is becoming worse.

Dr. Pam Hightower, the principal of Wesson Elementary School, says, "It is a real fact and it's really affected our schools, especially with the No Child Left Behind requirements. It's so hard to find teachers."

Officials with Florida's State Department of Education estimate the Sunshine State will need about 20,000 teachers this fall and about 30,000 next year.

Jackie Pons, Principal of Deerlake Middle School, says, "I think we're going to have to up the scale of salaries for teachers. Teachers are very important individuals and not only do they change lives, they save lives."

Leon County School Superintendent Bill Montford says the shortage is more concentrated in certain areas.

"We do have shortages in the areas of math and exceptional education, science and so on, but the problem is significant throughout Florida."

Montford says salaries are partly to blame for the shortage and he feels a bigger issue is with younger teachers becoming overwhelmed with the profession as a whole.

"Being a classroom teacher is a very difficult and demanding job. Many of our young people don't realize that until they get into the classroom. It's a very difficult job."

State education officials estimate about 10 percent of teachers in Florida leave the profession every year.

Principal Hightower says many area universities have required their education majors and future teachers to take their qualification tests earlier so they have good chances of employment upon graduation.


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