MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s been a brutal year and a half for educators and students and now South Florida faces another major education problem: a shortage of teachers and staff.
The statistics on the problem of staff shortages are startling. According to the Florida Education Association, the Sunshine State is short of nearly 5,000 teachers for this school year.
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“Eventually, we will no longer have teachers in the classroom. We will have substitute teachers instead of certified teachers,” said Liliana Ruido of Broward Teachers Union.
And the teacher shortage isn’t the only problem, nearly 4,000 support staff, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers and guards, are also needed.
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Labor leaders say if you follow the money it will explain why there is a shortage.
“A first-grade teacher earning the same amount as a 15-year-old teacher,” said Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union.
Florida teachers’ salaries are ranked among the worst in the country, paying an average of around $49,000 a year, and the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t helping anyone.
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Miami Dade Public Schools released this statement saying, “We are working diligently to ensure we are properly equipped for school openings. Teaching needs fall primarily in the areas of exceptional student education, also known as special education, high school math and science, English language arts, and mental health and guidance advice. This is sure to be a tough year for educators here in South Florida.