Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

In a program led by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), the state of Florida has begun offering instructor jobs to military veterans who go through the Military Veterans Certification Pathway program — as a way of mitigating the current classroom teacher shortage hitting in the state. 

The Florida legislature recently passed SB 896: Educator Certification Pathways for Veterans which allows for veterans who received at least a 2.5 GPA in college to be paired with a mentor. The veterans would then be able to apprentice under the teacher and learn first-hand skills to instruct Florida’s children. 

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz told Fox News, “So far the bill was passed this past session. It started July 1. We have 83 applications already in the state. This creates a pathway to be clear to have veterans who have served for four years in the military and have an honorable discharge and at least 60 college credits with a 2.5 GPA to have the opportunity to have a longer runway with a temporary certificate giving them the opportunity to get to the bachelor’s degree and finish the requirements that are required for all teachers in the state and allows us to maximize the 1.5 million veterans that we have in this state.”

Diaz added. “This is a great pathway for us to be able to have our veterans, in this veteran-friendly state, to step up to the plate.” 

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“The structure and skills that [the veterans] have will be valuable in the classroom,” the education commissioner explained, adding, “This is important in our classrooms because we’re missing some of that with today’s younger generation.”

The Florida Senate analysis of the bill stated: “Experienced military leaders who have mentored and educated military service members for years may have skills and experiences that can translate easily to the classroom and would be a ready-made workforce for Florida’s public and charter schools and could address short and long-term workforce needs.” 

When criticized for the idea, DeSantis argued, “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.’ 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,” according to the Florida Insider.

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The Sunshine State continues to be a model for the rest of the nation which is also facing teaching shortages. Florida’s veteran-centric program is not just a way to solve that shortage but will help create jobs for the men and women of the country, who served and sacrificed for America. 

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