Florida Faces Increasing Teacher Shortage After Thousands Of Teachers Were Fired For Failing State Exams

Grace Carr | Reporter

Thousands of Florida teachers were fired this summer after failing to pass the mandatory state examination that makes them eligible to teach, exasperating the state’s already remarkable teacher shortage.

Over a thousand teachers were fired after they were unable to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE), which is required for teacher’s to attain a teaching license, ABC Action News reported Thursday.

Florida currently has a teacher shortage of 4,000, according to the Florida Education Association (FEA). The FEA is Florida’s state teacher union and largest union in the state.

Florida’s Education Department made the exams more difficult in 2015, and scores dropped precipitously soon after. Roughly 80 percent of Floridians who took the exam in 2014 passed the General Knowledge Math Test on their first attempt, but that rate dropped to 57 percent after test revisions. Failure rates increased 34 percent on the elementary Language Arts and Reading test the year following the revisions.

“The reality is if you’re raising the bar and the test scores drop like that then you have a problem,” said FEA President Joanne McCall. “We have to solve the problem.” (RELATED: Florida Teacher Allegedly Drowns Two Raccoons In Front Of Students)

Teachers who fail the exam are abandoning teaching or seeking to work in schools as substitutes or other non-instructional roles, ABC reported.

“We walk into very dangerous territory to allow a test to be another factor on why teachers are leaving the classroom,” said Democratic state Rep. Shevrin Jones. “It should be alarming to every legislator within the state of Florida.”

The exam costs between $125 and $200 to take and the price increases for exams retakes.

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