FEA Reports 6,920 Teacher Vacancies; DOE Says That's False and Reports Only 4,776 Vacancies
Florida - Tuesday August 15, 2023: Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. is reporting that Florida's public schools began the school year with 4,776 total teacher vacancies. That is 432 fewer vacancies than at the start of the last school year, an 8% decline, he said.
The Florida Education Association (FEA) however is reporting that "as of August 7th, there were 6,920 advertised vacancies for teachers, compared to 6,006 at this time last year," an increase, not a decrease in the number of teacher vacancies.
The FEA represents more than 145,000 teacher and education workers throughout the state. It is the largest union in Florida.
A release from Florida DOE counters that the FEA is "falsely" reporting more than 2,000 additional teacher vacancies. Commissioner Diaz maintains that Florida's teacher vacancy rate is just 1.28 per school. He says that is less than the national average of two teacher vacancies for every school.
The FEA says its figures are based on a "count of positions advertised on district websites." The FEA also claims that "vacancies for school support staff stand at over 5,000, bringing the combined total to nearly 12,000 unfilled positions." For a county-by-county breakdown of the vacancy numbers, the FEA provides the following link: https://bit.ly/FEACount-0823
“It has been a top priority of the Governor, the Florida Legislature and the Department of Education to recruit high-quality teachers to fill our classrooms,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “It is clear from the nearly 10% decline in teacher vacancies reported today that their hard work has paid off.”
“Every single one of these situations stems directly from the fact that Gov. DeSantis is more focused on running for president than on being governor,” said FEA President Andrew Spar. “Parents are waking up to the reality that DeSantis’ attempts to appeal to his extremist base are harming their children’s freedom to learn."