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Front Page » Education » Miami-Dade public school teacher rolls hit 23-year low

Miami-Dade public school teacher rolls hit 23-year low

Written by on October 6, 2020
Miami-Dade public school teacher rolls hit 23-year low

Public school teacher rolls in Miami-Dade have fallen to a 23-year low, according to district statistics, despite growing interest in education work that schools personnel say helped stave off a steeper dip amid coronavirus concerns.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) figures show 17,584 teachers employed, the fewest since the 1996-97 school year, when 17,410 were on the district payroll.

This year’s number marks the latest in a downward trend that began more than a decade ago and runs contrary to some expectations that faculty staffing would rise with teacher pay raises.

In 2018, following a series of school shootings, including one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Miami-Dade voters chose to tax themselves to give educators a pay bump and enhance school security.

Over four years, the tax was estimated to generate roughly $232 million, of which 80% will add to teacher and counselor salaries and 20% will go toward hiring more on-site officers as required by a then-new state law.

Average teacher salaries rose from about $60,000 during the 2018-19 school year to more than $65,000 the year after.

Though the current economic slide would normally spur teaching job applications, “concerns about impact of Covid-19 on multigenerational homes, employees with underlying health conditions and a variety of other issues [has the district] not really seeing a new gain,” an email from the district’s Human Capital Management office said.

“However, an interest in teaching appears to be increasing,” personnel added.

The biggest gaps remain where they’ve long been and comport with national trends. The county schools’ vacancies are most prevalent in exceptional student education (special education), followed by “strong teachers in the areas of math, science and language arts/reading.”

Geographically, teachers are most needed in Miami-Dade’s urban core and the “rural, southernmost part of the county.”

Staffing remains “a fluid situation,” the email sent through school district spokesperson Jackie Calzadilla said, as many traditional recruitment methods were disrupted by the pandemic.

The district had to rescheduled all of its spring recruitments events and activities “due to the uncertainty of the virus,” and while hiring is ongoing, most of it is happening virtually.

School campuses this week welcome students back to classrooms unlike anything the nation has seen in a century. The changes go beyond sanitization, social distancing and maintaining and upgrading school sites and buses. And those changes have direct bearing on faculty numbers.

“There are many moving parts as it relates to the reopening of in-person classrooms that could potentially impact staffing – from decreased [full-time equivalent positions] to the uncertainty of unexpected leave options or retirement,” the email said. “Depending on what that looks like moving forward, our efforts to staff may be impacted in ways we had never dealt with in the past. Regardless, M-DCPS continues to recruit viable candidates.”

4 Responses to Miami-Dade public school teacher rolls hit 23-year low

  1. Jason Enriquez

    October 8, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    I believe the minimum wage for a starting teacher should be $65,000 a year with $1,000 increase every year and a maximum salary of $100,000.

    I find it really hard to believe that the average pay for teachers was $60,000 in 2018. That must mean, that in average, a good majority of teachers got a $30,000 to $40,000+ bump in pay from one year to the next.

    I refuse to work as teacher here in Miami because I cannot support the normalization of a teacher’s low wage. Working for such a low wage would show complicity and acceptance of such standards. Lower management staff in any field with only a high school degree make more than teachers. And if compare actual working time, a teacher makes less an hour than your average Walmart employee.

    There go my two cents at least.

  2. Marlen

    October 12, 2020 at 12:50 am

    I completely agree. Where did that $60K-$65K number come from??? That is extremely inaccurate. I hope PEN corrects this error. I have been a Special Education MDCPS teacher for 21 years and I do not make that. I would love to know how PEN came up with that number.

    • Melanie B

      October 13, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      The story says public school figures. I think it’s referring to statistics on the district’s website:

  3. DrBillLemoine

    October 15, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    It’s not just the pandemic that stops teacher enrollment in Florida. The state school system support and policies that prevent favorable teaching environments in classrooms are onerous. Supplies are another issue with not enough to individualize classroom instruction.
    Teachers I know have retired due to newer policies preventing individualizing instruction. Each child/student has different personality, compatibility and instructional needs that require closer contact than permitted by policies. Younger children need hands on direction not permitted. Older students lack self-discipline with little central office support for chronic or incorrigible malcontents. Class sizes are way to big for learning needs.

    Alongside these ongoing instructional/learning problems are covid19 restrictions. There isn’t enough space for proper ‘distancing’; parents are not confident of safety provisions not well-explained to them anyway; supplies for teacher and student protection are inadequate. Plus outside of high socioeconomic grounded district goals and methods of teaching are divorced from parental and community needs. There’s little accountability for closed schools, those that don’t want parent input into school affairs. As a parent, I would hesitate to send my child to school lacking knowledge in detail of how they would be safeguarded from the virus in all ways.