JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County has more schools identified for extra support than any other district in the Sunshine State, according to a Florida Department of Education report. The same report outlines the subject areas in which there exists a critical shortage of certified teachers, with English as the category projected to be in the direst need in the upcoming school year.
Exceptional Student Education (ESE), general science, reading, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), math and physical science followed English as the subjects seeing increasing scarcity amongst outgoing college seniors and currently working educators.
“The shortage areas above represent certification areas where substantial proportions of teachers who are not certified in the appropriate field are being hired to teach such courses, where significant vacancies exist, and where postsecondary institutions do not produce enough graduates to meet the needs of Florida’s K-12 student population,” the memo said. “This information can be used to determine the current and projected needs of classroom teachers for specific subject areas in the upcoming school year.”
Because of the massive teacher shortage, local districts are having to fill the gaps with teachers who don’t have the specific certification for that subject.
The report said that of the 591,461 courses taught in Florida K-12 schools, 59,117 - roughly 10% - were taught by an instructor who is not certified in that specific subject.
The FLDOE report includes a list of more than 700 schools in Florida that are considered “high priority” schools, which the state defines as low-economic schools, schools that earned an “F” grade, or three consecutive “D” grades from the state.
Duval County was the district that most frequently appeared on the list at 108 schools identified as “high priority,” including 11 of Duval County’s charter schools. Notably, though, DCPS only has 3 schools that received three consecutive “D” grades and has no schools graded “F.”
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The state considers a school at a “low-economic” status if 75% or more of the enrolled students qualify for the USDA’s free or reduced-price lunch program.
DCPS spokesperson Dr. Tracy Pierce released the following statement about the “high-priority” school list.
“The list is a reflection on two things: The challenge of recruiting teachers and the economic conditions of our neighborhoods.
Almost all of the schools on the list are in low economic areas. It’s a testament to the quality of education in those areas that less than a handful are on the list for performance.
Rutledge Pearson is a great example—an A school in one of the lowest economic settings in Jacksonville.
The list also demonstrates the need for the 1-mill referendum to recruit and retain great teachers in all schools.”Dr. Tracy Pierce, Duval County Public Schools