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Florida Governor Scott Asks Duval Teachers For Recruitment, Retention Advice

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Lindsey Kilbride
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WJCT News
Florida Governor Rick Scott asks Duval County teachers Thursday how to better recruit and retain teachers.

Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart sat in a circle with about 20 Reynolds Lane Elementary teachers Thursday afternoon.

Scott’s question to the educators: How does Florida attract people to teach and keep them in the field?

The first concern regarded teachers feeling secure in their jobs.

One teacher suggested not requiring high-performing teachers renew their teaching certificates, which currently teachers have to renew every five years.

Renewals require teachers take additional college classes and get “endorsements” in specialized areas like literacy.

Meanwhile, other teachers said they don’t like the fees associated with renewals, while others said don’t think they should have to renew their certification at all..

Scott said he wasn’t aware of the issue.

“One thing I’m going to go back a look at all the fees and see if there’s anything I can get rid of there,” he said. “I’m going to work on getting rid of both taxes and fees this year again. So I’m going to do that, but then I’d just want to make sure I understand the process.”

Later on, a reading teacher said he’d like to better understand how the value added model is calculated. The VAM is a formula used to determine teachers’ impact on student growth. It’s factored into teacher evaluations and the result can determine teacher pay. The Duval Teachers Union said it should be overhauled.

Scott said Stewart will continue to work on it.

“In any business you’re always measured. I think we’re all fine with measurement as long as we understand how it works,” Scott said. “I think it’s important that our teachers understand that and that we constantly improve it so we’re measuring the things that result in student gains.”

Most of the teachers chimed in that their students have behavior problems, and teachers need to be prepared to handle that. The teachers agreed with the suggestion to incorporate college education students into their classrooms.

Scott said he also plans to meet with deans of education at Florida colleges to ask them to keep in touch with with former students for input on what works in the real world.

Scott closed the meeting by telling teachers to contact him directly with more ideas.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.  

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.