CBS Miami | By Peter D’Oench | July 12, 2022
MIAMI — Miami-Dade, Broward and the state are all facing a shortage of teachers for the upcoming school year.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with both the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools and the president of the United Teachers of Dade about issues they face and possible solutions.
Dr. Vickie Cartwright, the superintendent of Broward Schools, said, “We are going out there to find qualified and high-quality teachers in our classrooms. I want the best and brightest teachers for our children to set them up for success.”
She said the nation’s fourth largest school district has 15,000 teachers and has 502 openings, compared with 620 openings at the same time last year.
Broward schools return on Tuesday, August 16, and the school system is passing out flyers promoting a career fair that will take place on Friday, July 29, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. The school system is looking for teachers, teaching assistants, substitute teachers and other employees.
To register to attend, go to browardschools.com/careerfair.
Cartwright said, “Teaching in these times is more and more difficult. People are more concerned about politics and today’s youth are more complex and complicated than in the past. So, our teachers have to learn a lot about embracing the children. It’s difficult for teachers. Pay is something that we definitely need to deal with. We also need to bring more attention to our wonderful benefits. We even have a grown your own program where we are here to support them in Broward County public schools.”
Cartwright added, “For anyone who has a bachelor’s degree, it does not have to be in education. We will work with you and train you and help you become certified.”
In Miami-Dade, the school system said there are 475 vacancies for the upcoming school year. A spokesman said Miami-Dade, like other school districts nationwide, lost teachers because of the pandemic.
He added, “We consistently seek to recruit top talent through partnerships with our local universities and hiring talented individuals motivated to make teaching a new career.”
Karla Hernandez-Mats, the president of the UTD, said, “Florida ranks 48th in teacher pay. So, we have a Florida Legislature that is not really emphasizing the importance of education and putting resources to obtain and recruit the best teachers. We see educators teaching in a place where they can’t afford to live so they’re having to drive to their school districts because they have been out priced. If we are an A-rated district, then there should be A-rated compensation.”
She also said, “We know morale is very low. The American Federation of Teachers did a survey nationwide and found that at the national level there is a 20% job satisfaction for educators compared with 8 years ago when it was 79%. That is a drastic change and obviously the pandemic has influenced stress levels and that feel. One thing we also need to address is restructuring schools to make a more positive environment.”
She said teachers are dealing with “culture wars” and a “lack of respect.”
She said, “We are giving our students the world despite all the obstacles. But our teachers feel unappreciated and overworked. They are under stress and unless we address the compensation issue, we are going to have a mass exodus here in Miami-Dade County.”
Statewide, a recent report by the Florida Education Association showed a shortage in Florida of 9,500 teachers and support staff.