- Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1125 into law on Friday, allowing classroom instructors licensed in participating states to teach in Florida without recertification.
- The bill is part of the Interstate Education Compact, reducing barriers to teacher mobility and facilitating faster transitions.
- Florida joins Colorado, Kentucky, and Utah in the compact, with 13 more states pending legislation to join. The bill also extends to trade educators to supplement the state’s trade and technical education system.
- The bill also extends to educators who specialize in trade subjects like plumbing, electrical work, and automobile mechanics in an effort to supplement the state’s growing trade and technical education system.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1125 into law on Friday, which grants authorization to teachers licensed in a state that participates in the Interstate Education Compact to instruct classes in Florida without requiring recertification.
The bill, introduced by Rep. David Smith, allows teachers with an eligible license from a member state of the compact to be granted an equivalent license in another member state, reducing barriers to teacher mobility and facilitating a faster transition for teachers into stateside classrooms.
“This is a reciprocity agreement with other states. Currently fourteen, but there are 11 other states that have it before their legislature, so it’s growing,” said Smith. “It will allow teachers to move into Florida, and instead of going through relicensing, with a quick background check go right into the classroom and teach.”
With the measure’s adoption, Florida enters the compact, allowing teachers who possess eligible licenses to apply for licensure in another member state and receive the closest equivalent license without the need to submit additional materials, undergo state-specific exams, or complete additional coursework.
Colorado, Kentucky, Utah, and now Florida have ratified the Compact, while 13 additional states have pending legislation to join. Once the compact reaches ten member states, it will go into effect.
The bill also extends to educators who specialize in trade subjects like plumbing, electrical work, and automobile mechanics in an effort to supplement the state’s growing trade and technical education system.
“We know about math, English, language arts, those kinds of teachers, but also vocational instructors, which we desperately need in Florida to expand our trades program,” said Smith.
A recent audit of Florida’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program showed rising numbers of participation in schools across the state, supplemented by a finding that 65 percent of high school seniors enrolled in a CTE concentration graduate with at least one industry certification.
“It is not the end all be all. It won’t solve all of the problems, but it’s one step forward in making sure we have qualified, engaged teachers in the classrooms who are helping to educate our students and our future,” said bill sponsor Rep. Christine Hunschofsky.
Broader — yet similar — pieces of legislation were introduced last month by Sen. Jay Collins and Rep. Traci Koster that would allow employers to recognize occupational licenses from other states, though the bills were both killed in the legislative process. During a recent healthcare industry panel, Collins stated that lawmakers will sustain efforts to enact similar licensure systems in the future.
“We have to draw [healthcare workers] in,” said Collins. “When you really look at what’s creating the problem in drawing them in, it comes down to licensure. We have had dozens and dozens of calls from providers around the country who want to come to Florida because of our economy, and because of our ability to do fantastic healthcare in a way that’s empowering our providers. But the licensing bodies wouldn’t get out of the way.”