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Florida Teacher Vacancies Far Less than Claimed by Media and Union

When the real numbers came in, Florida’s teacher vacancies were shown to be far less than the bold claims made by union representatives and mainstream media.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — As of day one vacancy reports, the total amount of teacher vacancies in Florida is 5,208 – far less than the 9,000 claimed in various media reports and by the Florida Education Association.

"Our public schools are really at a crisis level seeing this massive number of vacancies,” Andrew Spar, President of the Florida Education Association told ABC Action News on July 21. In another story, published by CNN, it was claimed that teachers were leaving Florida due to “controversial new legislation,” and that this was a main reason behind the shortage.

These number now turn out to be fiction. Florida has about 185,000 teachers and the state’s current vacancies represent less than 3 percent of teaching positions.

“Our new data shows that the real number of teaching vacancies is roughly half what has been reported,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “We did not allow media-generated distractions to deter us from our goal to proactively support school districts as they recruit and hire teachers. In fact, the Bureau of Educator Certification has worked extended hours to shorten the time to process educator certificates so districts have high-quality candidates to fill the remaining vacancies.”

Alex Lanfranconi, Director of Communications at the Florida Department of Education, is critical of the media narrative around the vacancies.

“For months, the media ran a false narrative that Florida had over 9,000 teaching vacancies. This lie was further propagated by union clowns attempting to sow division and misinformation for political gain,” he told The Florida Standard.