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Shortage of Math, Science and English Teachers Affects Student Performance

January 16, 2019 - 6:00am

The State Board of Education is expected Wednesday to approve a report that details a shortage of certified science, English and math teachers in Florida’s public schools.

The annual report points to issues such as a scarcity of certified teachers in subject areas such as general science, physics and chemistry when compared to fields such as elementary education. Also, it details factors such as teacher-education programs turning out relatively few science and math teachers.

“The shortage areas … 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 population,” the report said.

The report, which will go before the state board during a meeting in Pensacola, recommends designation of “critical teacher shortage areas” for the 2019-2020 school year. State law requires such shortage areas to be identified each year.

Eight areas are singled out at as having critical shortages, with a general science category at the top of the list. It is followed by English; mathematics; English for speakers of other languages; a physical science category that includes chemistry and physics; reading; technical education; and a broad category of exceptional student education, which includes students who receive services for such things as hearing impairment, physical impairment, learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder.

Using a formula that takes into account the number of courses offered, English had the highest percentage of courses taught by teachers without the proper certification. The report said school districts “prefer to hire teachers certified in the appropriate (fields) for the courses they teach when possible to ensure students are taught the Florida Standards at the level of rigor required.”

Concerns about shortages of qualified teachers in certain subject areas, such as math and science, have existed for years --- and are not only to Florida. A 2016 report by the Education Commission of the States said evidence was “insufficient to support claims of an increasing teacher shortage on a national level,” but it said problems existed in certain fields.

“Teacher shortages are often confined to certain subject areas such as math, science and special education,” the Education Commission of the States report said. “Since (the 1999-2000 school year), staffing challenges have lessened but remain in math and special education, but since 2003-04 staffing challenges in science have failed to improve. Colleges in many states are overproducing candidates with expertise in already-staffed, low-demand subjects such as elementary education and under-producing candidates with expertise in understaffed, high-demand subjects such as science and math.”

The new Florida report also indicates schools that received “D” ratings for their performances over the past three years have higher percentages of out-of-field teachers than other schools.


I see the standard answer of "throw money at it" hasn't gone away. FL lotto, budgetary allowances, the highest percentage millage rate on homeowner's property taxes (at least in the 561), coupled with an extra penny sales tax and for whatever reason, the state's education board and individual county school districts can't seem to make it work. There are qualified people out there who could take on these jobs. Shame the school administrations are unable to find a way to entice them.

If the state wants 'good teachers' ... it has to make Florida teaching jobs desirable ... and generate the circumstance that good teachers are competing for the available jobs. That's been far from the case in Florida public education to date.

Let's see Cbreeze come out and trash teachers like she always enjoys doing. Shame on her.

Does this mean that the "Dumbing Down of Students Era" is coming to a close,.. and we shouldn't allow "cash registers" & "Google" to continue to "do our thinking" for us and our progeny ???? (Those that can't "DO", teach; and those that can't "TEACH", teach gym; and those that can't even "TEACH GYM", become ineffective Teachers' Union representatives...) Our kids have deserved much, much better for far, far too long ! ! ! ((Hope I didn't disappoint you "Sally"; which catagory do YOU reside in???))

Let's see Cbreeze come out and trash teachers like she always enjoys doing. Shame on her.

Silly YOU "Sally",... believing that a mere 'news article' would (or even could) change my "decades forged" perception of "teachers" (which literally began in the '70's when Selective Service prospective 'draftees' changed their college "majors" from 'brain-surgeon' and other 'lofty imaginary wish' category jobs, to an "education" college "major" TO AVOID BEING DRAFTED INTO THE MILITARY when "their number came up". Thus began WHOLE generations of angry, potential former 'brain-surgeons' candidates who then permeated the "Teaching Profession" (watering it down), and later "rising to their level of incompetence" as 'Eduational Administrators" who went on to corrupt the ENTIRE system from K-thru-12 as well as our college and university systems....ALWAYS with "money" instead of "educational excellence" as a priority..... (THAT was as close as they could possible "aim" towards that always desired 'brain-surgeon' or 'rock-star' salary...) [...and our progeny has suffered under largely inept and ineffective "teacher mentors" EVER SINCE !!! ] I suspect YOU are a late-entry product of that corrupted system "Sally", along with many of your institutionally lazy peers...

Let's see you teach school with all of your big mouth. Blah Blah.

Sigh, I don't know why I should expect actual facts from a Trumpite, who supports the President's daily lies . . . . . . . . the draft changed significantly on December 1, 1969, when we went to a lottery system, which took two of my fellow physics majors when they graduated the next summer . . . . . . . in 1971, ALL student deferments were ended except for divinity students . . . . in 1972, the last draft was implemented, although lottery drawings continued for several years and the last draftee was inducted in June, 1973 . . . . . . . . . .In January 1973, the establishment of an all-volunteer military was announced and the draft abolished . . . . . so, stop with your delusional conspiracy theories, not based on reality, or provide clear documented evidence that backs your rants . . . . . . . . to do otherwise is . . . . . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

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