Teachers and educators have become the targets of political attacks. Some educators believe these attacks are part of a greater goal to privatize education and strip public schools of their funding.
Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar discussed these tactics when he appeared on the AWF Union Podcast. He also talked about hybrid learning during the pandemic, teacher pay and more.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced school districts into remote or hybrid learning. While there were some positives to virtual learning, such as class sizes not being an issue, there were negatives as well. Spar said many students struggled to stay focused during virtual education as they sat in their bedrooms or elsewhere.
Spar worries school districts will struggle in the coming years, as the Florida Constitution sets class size limits. Over the past few years, he believes a number of teachers retired due to poor pay or the constant attacks on their profession. According to Spar, the state is currently facing a shortage of more than 1,000 teachers.
The COVID-19 pandemic also pushed more students into private education. Some private schools returned to in-person education long before public schools. There were a number of parents who wanted their children to have in-person instruction, so they transferred their kids to private schools.
Florida is furthering their school voucher program to the detriment of public school districts, Spar said.
Spar said these voucher programs take money from public school districts in desperate need of funding. While charter schools gain more money in Florida, Spar said it is not used to pay qualified teachers, so education suffers.