Gov. DeSantis wants retired cops as teachers

'Focusing on our heroes.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is rolling out new proposals intended to bring teachers to Florida, with shortages affecting districts throughout the state.

One such proposal would take first responders, including former police officers, firefighters and EMTs, from those high-pressure environments and move them to K-12 classrooms.

DeSantis said his proposed Governor’s Recruitment Program was “focusing on our heroes,” seeking to bring former first responders in the way that former members of the military are now eligible for hire.

“We will waive the exam fees for the state teachers certification,” DeSantis vowed, floating a $4,000 bonus for all recruits and an additional $1,000 incentive for those teachers who are addressing “acute shortages” in the classroom.

“Science, ESE, reading,” DeSantis exemplified. “Those are all very important.”

“We’ve got people who served in law enforcement, retired, and now they’re looking for the next chapter in their life,” DeSantis explained.

Education Commissioner Manny Diaz was on board.

“Sheriff, we may be going back into these rows behind you to recruit,” Diaz joked. “What better place to have them than in front of our young people in the classroom?”

DeSantis rolled out other proposals beyond expanding eligibility to former first responders, including a two-year teacher apprenticeship program that would allow anyone with an associate of arts degree to get “real world classroom experience” under a mentor.

“What makes a teacher great is actually being there, doing it,” DeSantis said.

Mentors would get $4,000 bonuses per trainee.

DeSantis rolled out a second proposal tailored to current classroom teachers, a scholarship program to allow current teachers to get master’s degrees so they can teach increasingly popular dual enrollment classes. More than 92,000 students took those classes last year, which allow students to get college credit while in K-12 settings.

DeSantis was in Pasco County Tuesday, at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey, when he made the remarks. After his formal announcement, a reporter asked about recruiting international teachers, but DeSantis did not embrace the proposal.

“I don’t want to go with a foreigner over someone from our communities,” DeSantis said.

In the wake of the Governor’s announcement, Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried denounced the proposal.

“Let me be clear: we should not be lowering the bar for teachers in Florida. Instead of paying teachers what they’re worth and agreeing to stop politicizing their jobs, DeSantis is trying to let Floridians with no experience and minimal training teach our kids.

“It’s not rocket science: we have a teacher shortage crisis because DeSantis has turned classrooms into battlegrounds to fight his culture wars and divide our state. Allowing anyone to teach without a certificate will push Florida even further to bottom of the rankings when it comes to the quality of our education, and our kids will ultimately pay the price,” Fried said, before saying the real issue is compensation for currently qualified teachers.

“There are plenty of qualified people who would love to be certified teachers if they were paid enough to make ends meet and didn’t have to buy basic classroom supplies with their own money,” she said. “This is unfortunately just another fight in DeSantis’ war on public education and kids in Florida.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Just a comment

    August 16, 2022 at 9:35 am

    The first question is do they get separate pensions
    The second is are they building to fast and he needs temporary people to replace the inventory
    The 3rd how many cancer centers are they building for radiation exposure to the cities

    • Joe Corsin

      August 16, 2022 at 10:00 am

      ^ Medicated to the point of being legible this morning. An improvement over the last week. Gonna take years to build any kind of logic through. Pray.. pray for this man.

  • Elliott Offen

    August 16, 2022 at 10:15 am

    DeHitler wants Christian fascist police state in Florida. Military and police running everything. God and baby Jesus save us from this far right menace. Eventually, cameras on every street corner and drones patrolling even rural areas. No civil rights, no privacy rights, also life sentences for DUI.

    • CB

      August 24, 2022 at 8:38 pm

      You obviously had a teachers(s) which failed you. Can you define “fascist” and not gaslight it? You compare the Governor to Hitler? How so? Because he wanted businesses to thrive and oust those that won’t listen to parents and the constituency? You need to go back to school and take a civics and political science course. Apparently, you should want those with life experience to teach – you certainly weren’t a student of such.

  • Frankie M.

    August 16, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Great idea because that’s exactly what former law officials want to do in their retirement. Deal with disrespectful kids all day. Way to go Ronnie!

    “I don’t want to go with a foreigner over someone from our communities,” DeSantis said.

    Xenophobic much?

    • CB

      August 24, 2022 at 8:39 pm

      Wow – you’re imbecilic.

  • PeterH

    August 16, 2022 at 10:38 am

    It is doubtful that a large number of retired former police officers, firefighters and EMTs can afford to live in the areas most impacted with educator shortages.

    Only Florida and Arizona are forced to hire associate degree individuals (two years of College) to fill school vacancies. These two states have high housing costs and very low teacher salaries not to mention Florida’s and DeSantis’s deliberate “culture war” policies designed to isolate and discriminate against children he feels don’t fit in.

    The electorate can fix this…..Vote all Republicans out of office.

    • CB

      August 24, 2022 at 8:41 pm

      Lol. As a retired law enforcement officer and an adjunct professor – I must say that your comments are highly illiterate.

  • Jay Smif

    August 16, 2022 at 10:55 am

    Let’s see, “retired military” has ZERO qualifications for classroom instruction at face value, especially with what, a few hours of observation, getting paid $12 an hour to take up space? This will only attract the worst of the worst; right wingers with a dishonorable discharge that want to bring a gun into the classroom with them, looking for the slightest excuse to kill a black or brown student as tribute to DeSantis, or maybe bully a gay or trans kid into suicide for kicks. Yet another terrible idea by the fascist from Tallahassee.

    • Mr. Haney

      August 16, 2022 at 1:35 pm

      DeSantis is to ignorant to know that to be an instructor in the military one has to be certified to instruct.

  • marylou

    August 16, 2022 at 11:45 am

    Desantis’ plan is to destroy public schools to shovel taxpayer dollars to corporate and religious indoctrination businesses. Parents may get all excited about their kid getting into a “private school”. Well, unlike public schools, private schools get to pick their students. Once desantis and his corporate donors have gotten rid of competition from public schools, the privates will be able to collect taxpayer money to run “good” schools for parents who can afford to self-pay the balance between government supplied vouchers and the school’s actual tuition. All other kids (yours), will be going to cop-teacher schools that their voucher will cover— because their parents won’t be able to afford the private school’s full tuition. Don’t fall for it. Democrats support superior schools for all children! Stop Ron Now!

    • Joe Corsin

      August 16, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      Also at these schools they will not be taught anything that might direct the mind away from nationalism and/or religion. These schools will be a conservative Republican factories… churning out robots. Florida will be fkd accept if people wanna come here on vacation and then leave. Grifter state basically.

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 16, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Two best teachers I ever had were retired law enforcement.

    • Mr. Haney

      August 16, 2022 at 1:39 pm

      DeSantis is to ignorant to know that to be an instructor in the military one has to be certified to instruct.

      • CB

        August 24, 2022 at 8:42 pm

        “ DeSantis is to ignorant to know…”

        An ignorant person would use “to” in place of “too.”

    • Who cares

      August 17, 2022 at 12:20 am

      Honey they don’t have the adequate training like counselors do! To be a counselor you must possessed at least a master degree and not less than that! To be a cop a high school diploma would do! Shame on Disantis proposal! I can’t believe that I voted for this idiot!

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 16, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for making the case for 100% vouchers, lower costs for all, and parents picking their child’s mentors.

    • Joe Corsin

      August 16, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      I want Mike Lindell or Alex Jones to be my childs mentor! Parental right to destroy a child with nonsense! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!!

  • Ewe

    August 16, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    Blue collar teaching our kids academics. Great. Dumb proposal.

  • Mr. Haney

    August 16, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Where was that comrade? Starke?

  • Raymond Calvert

    August 16, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    I lived through this dark comedy in 1968 during the teacher walkout. It was a sad joke. As a student in Pinellas County during that time it was a bad experience. The warm bodies knew absolutely nothing about their subjects and certainly did not know how to teach. Dumb idea governor.

    • Frank R

      August 20, 2022 at 11:27 am

      To educate, from the Latin “to bring out the light from within” as opposed to indoctrination by left wing groomers seems like a decent trade off. Most police officers see more real life in a week than average citizens see in a decade. Having an education by some one who wants the young to learn how to critically think instead of what to think (indoctrination) would be a long term benefit to America. The Department of Education has overseen a steady decline in student readiness to enter the real worlf

  • Jane

    August 16, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    Appalling ignorance of the value of education. He is so disrespectful to the educational institution and what it takes to be a good teacher. He is so into his own personal biased agenda, that it just keeps getting more outrageous. Parents should be looking very carefully about the ramifications of this proposal, not only educationally, but the societal infiltration of political bias within it.

  • Peter Aretin

    August 16, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    This story seems to has escaped from The Onion®.

  • Lee Roller

    August 16, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    We’ll let first responders and ex military be teachers and we won’t even test them to ensure that they are competent. I’m sure analytical geometry and chemistry won’t be a problem with someone who has been through basic training for the military.

    Because we’re all about the kids and the schools and parental rights and being as free as Governor DeSpicable wants them to be.

    The kids may grow up butt-ignorant and ill-equipped to be a productive, functioning member of society. But they will do so without a mask and without any discussion of sexuality. As is their God given right. At least the rights that the right wants them to have. But remember that the rights of the children and their parents end where Governor Greasy’s personal preferences begin.

  • J Kolpack

    August 17, 2022 at 1:32 am

    I agree all teachers are motivators, all exes should have a background check and an aptitude test. I hate to say there are bad apples on every tree.

  • Tom

    August 17, 2022 at 7:46 am

    Brilliant move, great way to expand the field and reinvigorate education.

    Just like the Monoclonal centers, unprecedented effort which demonstrated military like precision and life safety health.

    Saving thousands lives, DeSantis is the difference in America today.

    America’s Gov, profile in courage, always advancing laughing as the kitty litters above meow as babes. You Soros Manchurian losers are pathetic. So Brain dead.

  • Yep

    August 17, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Expand the field and reinvigorate education? Pass whatever you are smoking Tom. This proposal won’t even put a dent in the thousands of vacancies we have here in Floriduh.

    How are those Monoclonal centers going now? Oh yeah another short term, not especially effective solution. Turn off the Fox news and read a book or something.

    • Tom

      August 18, 2022 at 4:56 am

      Typical moron soros Manchurian boot licker. U Yep must be related to corsin, how stupid. Your idiot Biden literally stopped the mono therapy, hence centers.

      DeSantis made them avail unlike anyone else in country, saving lives.

      You need to get your mouth shut. Ignorance is bliss. Ofcourse it’s a great idea having ex military, EMT, Fire and others pursue education teaching. DeSantis brilliance solves problems.

      Lack of educators is a national problem. You can thank the Union for sll this. Stop licking soros manchurian boots.

      DeSantis saved Florida, CDC just proved he was right. America’s Gov!

  • Peter

    August 18, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    Tell him to hire the cops from uvalde I heard they need a job

  • Nino

    August 21, 2022 at 10:50 am

    DeSantis is putting in place what the GOP wants, more uneducated folks to join the current cult to push their fascist agenda. They fear the educated as they call out these fascist policies so the GOP can hold the power of who is allowed to be properly educated. As long as those wishing to be educated follow the syllabus of GOP fascist indoctrination.

  • CB

    August 24, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Certainly many left winged and undereducated people commenting here. Your opinions on who should educate and what they persons vocation required by the way of formal education is at least, laughable. Thanks for continuing to validate the ignorance of the left.

    • CB

      August 24, 2022 at 8:46 pm


Comments are closed.


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