Florida has announced that it will allow military veterans to teach without degrees in an attempt to fill teacher vacancies.

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As reported in MilitaryTimes on Tuesday, Florida’s Department of Education announced that in an attempt to fill 9,000 teaching vacancies, veterans can now receive a five-year voucher to teach without a degree. This is part of Florida’s statewide expanded career and workforce opportunities for military veterans that is budgeted at $8.6 million.

These vouchers would allow veterans to teach in classrooms without the necessary education requirements that other teachers must pass to be accredited. The educational requirements for these veterans will be 60 college credits (which amounts to barely two years of completed college courses), a minimum of 2.5 GPA, and a bachelor’s level area examination. Veterans will also be required to have served 48 months in the military and will be supervised by a teaching mentor.

While there is a teaching crisis within the U.S. and military veterans do deserve opportunities to pursue other career options, this is a profoundly bad idea. This ignores the underlying causes of the teacher crisis (which is part of the much larger education crisis that has been persistent within the U.S.) and instead implements America’s favorite band-aid approach to systemic problems; placing unqualified militarized personnel in positions they have zero business being in, like police as mental health professionals or as school “security”.

You can’t just throw a warm body in a classroom, that’s not the answer.

Barry dubin, in a Herald-Tribune article

The underlying causes of the teaching crisis are clear; teachers have been vocal about them for years. Teachers do not receive enough pay, time, or respect to do the very crucial and demanding job that they do. The U.S. as a country has failed teachers in every possible way, and now Florida hopes that they can implement a quick fix without any hitches. Only there will be hitches. This may not be the worst idea that Florida has churned out, but that does not excuse the fact that these veterans are not qualified enough to be teachers. Even with supervision education quality is sure to decline.

This is also incredibly insulting to teachers who have undergone the rigorous training required and begs the question of how we can expect our teachers to complete hours of unpaid training and conferences if this won’t be required of everyone who is allowed to set foot in a classroom.

Allowing veterans to teach is not an ideal solution. The solution, while certainly time-consuming and difficult, is to revamp the education system and pay teachers their worth.

What veterans are qualified to do is obey orders and perform pro-America propaganda for thousands of vulnerable-minded children. This decision moves us certainly closer and closer to a militarized police state. We must be careful who we let into the classroom.

Ann Herrold is a genderqueer writer that has a BA degree in philosophy (focusing on ethics) and a minor in anthropology from the University of Wyoming. They have published several original poems as well...

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