Palm Beach County’s Teacher Vacancy Rate is the Highest in Florida

Palm Beach County’s Teacher Vacancy Rate is the Highest in the State 

Bottom Line: On the back of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education laws, which have been opposed by the Florida Education Association, much has been made of teacher shortages in Florida in recent years. The implication by teachers' unions has been that Florida’s laws have had a chilling effect on educators within the state. Quoting the FEA: Backed by the right-wing movement in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. have ushered in a new era of censorship – unlawfully attacking the freedom to read and public education and harming parents, students, educators and librarians. At the onset of the 2023-2024 school year Florida once again has a shortage of teachers, and the narrative advanced by the unions once again is that the governor and the policies of the Florida Department of Education are to blame. However, when evaluating teacher shortages across the country, the union’s narrative falls flat.  

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Florida’s teacher vacancy rate is 4.2%. That’s essentially the same as the country’s vacancy rate at 4%. What’s more, as it pertains to the narrative that Florida politics is to blame for shortages, California has one of the highest vacancy rates in the country at 6.5%. Yet the teachers’ unions have been complimentary of California’s education policies before, during and after the pandemic. Clearly, with a vacancy rate that’s greater than 50% higher than Florida’s and the national average, Governor DeSantis – nor the Florida Board of Education are to blame for those shortages. In fact, if educators had really been fleeing Florida enmasse as has been implied, in theory states like California would have benefitted from Florida’s defections. That said, there is a South Florida specific storyline that introduces questions about what’s specifically happening within the Palm Beach County School District.  

While Florida’s teacher vacancy rate is 4.2%, Palm Beach County’s teacher vacancy rate is the highest in the state at 6.2%. Palm Beach County started the school year with 811 vacancies – greater than double the year ago total. In fact, Palm Beach County’s school district has a vacancy rate that is nearly 200 openings higher than the state’s second largest district – Broward, and over 400 openings higher than the state’s largest school district – Miami Dade. In fact, were it not for Palm Beach County’s teacher vacancies, Florida’s vacancy rate would be below the national average. So, while the teachers unions’ narrative is evidenced to be false in Florida – there is a Palm Beach County specific issue within our state. Is it a recruitment issue? A leadership issue? Both? This is worth looking into and addressing – though even Palm Beach County’s teacher vacancy rate – the highest in the state, remains lower than the average rate in California.  

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content