On Wednesday, teachers in the Tampa Bay area will push to get more money for public schools in Florida. Many educators plan to take part in a statewide “walk in.”The goal is to bring awareness to what they consider inadequate state funding.
Funding for public education has been a hot button issue for years. According to the Florida Education Association, Florida ranks among the bottom ten states nationally in funding for students. The groups also says education spending remains below pre-recession levels.
The teacher’s union says the average teacher salary has dropped to 46th in the nation and predicts there will be 10,000 teacher vacancies in the state in the next school year, citing Florida Department of Education projections.
As union members try to persuade legislators, Governor Ron Desantis has been vocal about his education plans, most recently in Tampa on Monday. He’s proposed reforms to the best and brightest teachers program. He also wants a greater emphasis on vocational education and to prioritize school choice programs. He announced his goal of clearing out the wait list for Florida’s tax credit scholarship program designed to give low-income kids better education opportunities.
“We’re going to have an array of options and make the decision for what’s best for their kids,” said Desantis.
Teachers plan to get to work 15 to 20 minutes early, gather at the flag pole and then all walk in together.