Gov. DeSantis slots $10M for retired cops, soldiers in K-12 classrooms
Florida seeks to give service members and their families a break on health care licences.

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In 2022, DeSantis said he would 'take the Marine every day of the week and twice on Sunday.'

When it comes to Florida classrooms, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to send in the Marines.

Sailors, soldiers, Air Force pilots and retired cops are also welcome under the newest budget proposal from the Governor.

The Governor’s new budget slots $10 million to bring former armed forces members and first responders into K-12 classrooms, in what he described in Tallahassee as a “new teacher recruitment program that seeks to bring retired military veterans and first responders to come and serve their community in the classroom.”

The funding will offer what the budget FAQ calls “a first-come, first-served recruitment bonus for retired military veterans, and retired first responders who commit to joining the teaching profession. Heroes are required to teach a minimum of two years to keep the bonus. Individuals teaching in a critical shortage area may receive an additional bonus.”

Bonuses of $4,000 will be available to 2,000 such hires, with an additional $1,000 available to those teaching in critical shortage areas.

The money builds on the Military Veteran Certification Pathway rolled out last year, in the wake of Senate Bill 896 and a subsequent rule by the Florida Department of Education, allowing military veterans to obtain a five-year temporary teaching certificate without a bachelor’s degree if they had 60 credit hours with a 2.5 GPA and had been honorably discharged after four years in the service.

Hiring has thus far been slow, according to published reports. But $10 million in new money offers an eight-figure supplement to the Governor’s previously expressed enthusiasm for the drive to “get more talent into our school system.”

“You give me somebody who has four years of experience as a Devil Dog over somebody who has four years of experience at Shoehorn U and I will take the Marine every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” DeSantis said during an August 2022 press conference in Brevard County.

Teachers’ unions bristled at the proposal, but DeSantis has said he’ll push forward.

“You’ve got some people in the media or whatever who are criticizing this. You had the head of the teachers’ union in Sarasota criticize it, saying, ‘You can’t just throw any warm body into the classroom,” DeSantis said.

“Well, I’ll tell you something: people who have served our country are not just some ‘warm body.’ They have a lot to offer our communities.”

A.G. Gancarski

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


5 comments

  • Mac Wiseman

    February 1, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    The left hates this because in Florida this proposal will totally eliminate school shootings.
    The left needs more school shootings as their only way forward to gun control.

  • Phil Morton

    February 1, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Yes, a retired cop instead of a credentialed educator is what education in Florida has become. I am very happy that I no longer have any kids in this school system.

  • Dan

    February 1, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    This is pathetic. I went through Florida’s school system in the 90s and the schools were well regarded all over the country. To see what this pudgy swamp troll has done to them is pathetic. Florida really has become the joke of America, a bad one.

  • J

    February 2, 2023 at 6:34 am

    Former Army MP. Now, credentialed mathematics teacher. In my 25 years of teaching I have seen that many schools have 6-8 former military on campus teaching. And, they have all been outstanding. I fully support any efforts to encourage the continued recruitment of former military members that are interested in teaching.

  • Victoria

    February 2, 2023 at 11:45 am

    Former military can make good teachers. They simply need to meet the standards that a principal would require of any new hire: academic ability as demonstrated by decent grades and passing state exams, and classroom training/supervised student teaching.

Comments are closed.


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