Florida Governor Rick Scott and other elected officials in the state are intent on a very important mission to recruit more teachers for the state’s school system amid a major shortage. Unfortunately for any budding teachers in the state, it appears that Scott will do just about anything to recruit more teachers – except paying them more.
Rick Scott made sure to prioritize teachers in his 2017 budget in January, but so far, every proposal he has put forward to the Florida legislature has been soundly rejected.
Scott proposed eliminating the state’s “Best and Brightest” program, an incentive-based teacher scholarship program that ties bonuses to college admissions exams. Though the program has been hotly contested, Scott has proposed eliminating it entirely without providing any alternative, meaning less money for teachers.
Both the House and Senate in the state strongly oppose Scott’s desire to eliminate the “Best and Brightest” program, and have instead proposed several ways that the program could be expanded significantly.
Instead, Scott proposed a number of smaller incentives on the recruitment side, including a program to actively recruit Bright Futures scholars – recipients of ever-dwindling state-issued grants – to the field of teaching. Scott has also proposed eliminating the fees associated with obtaining a teaching certification. Both of these appear to be token band-aids to the state’s overarching issue – they simply aren’t willing to fairly compensate teachers for their work.
As the years go by, a teacher’s job at your average public school only becomes more difficult. Gone are the days of stimulating, creative lesson plans. In their place are stringent test preparation from booklets sent by the state. By removing the very reason teachers take up their vocation in the first place, Florida and the nation at-large is making teaching a less and less desirable career.