- Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan economic watchdog, released a report on Monday regarding the statewide teacher shortage also exploring why educators are leaving the profession en masse
- The report found low pay and high mental stress to be among the leading reasons teachers are leaving the profession
- The report finds that more than 9,000 job vacancies across Florida are resulting in larger class sizes, resulting in less engaging learning approaches, and an overall decrease in educational development
- Many departing teachers cite a low rate of pay and mental health as reasons for seeking a different industry
Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan economic analysis group, on Monday released its report “Are Floridians Ready to Go Back to School? Not Without More Teachers…,” presenting an outline of the ongoing statewide teacher shortage.
In the report, Florida TaxWatch investigated reasons why the educator shortage is sustained and ongoing, as well as efforts undertaken by the state and school districts to combat the teacher shortage including raising teacher pay, military-to-educator pathways, and homeowner assistance.
Florida TaxWatch observed that while many reasons have been given for not pursuing or maintaining teaching jobs, salary and mental health are frequently mentioned. According to a national study conducted in February 2021, 78 percent of teachers reported experiencing regular work-related stress, and when compared to all individuals, the prevalence of depressive symptoms nearly tripled.
“A strong K-12 education system is vital to Florida’s economic success,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Not only is education one of the biggest consumers of taxpayer dollars – accounting for 4.4 percent of general revenue spending in the current fiscal year – but when it’s effective, it can produce an enhanced, more robust workforce capable of attaining higher earnings and greater self-sufficiency.”
The State Board of Education highlighted major teacher shortages for the 2022–2023 school year in a number of critical subjects, including Reading and Math, which are core tenants in fostering the development of fundamental academic abilities.
According to Florida TaxWatch, this is due to both a decrease in the number of new teachers entering the field and a rise in the number of instructors quitting.
One estimate from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found teachers leaving the profession account for approximately eight in nine of the average 300,000 total job openings per year. A recent survey by the National Education Association also found that 55 percent of current teachers are considering leaving their profession earlier than planned.
According to one estimate from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the typical 300,000 job opportunities each year, teachers account for around eight out of every nine of them. A separate survey conducted by the National Education Association shows that 55 percent of existing teachers are considering quitting their jobs sooner than intended.
Florida TaxWatch reports that there were approximately 4,500 mid-year openings during the 2021–22 academic year, outpacing the number of newly qualified instructors.
With an excess of 9,000 predicted vacancies in Florida an expectation that schools may accept less qualified individuals to fill positions has arisen. According to data provided in the report, 10 percent of instructors who were in the classroom last school year did not hold necessary credentials.
“The ongoing teacher shortage may be compromising student achievement. In some cases, staggering vacancies are all but forcing schools to hire less qualified candidates, which often hinders learning for vulnerable students who may already be falling behind their peers,” continued Calabro. “And when no skilled candidates can be found, the remaining teachers take on more responsibility, causing increased stress and burnout, ultimately leading to their departure and thereby perpetuating this vicious cycle.