Florida veterans eligible to begin their next period of class service

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The Florida State Board of Education recently unanimously passed a rule that allows military veterans to receive temporary teaching certification while working toward their bachelor’s degree.

Unfortunately, this common-sense action has been met with skepticism, rumors and outright lies intended to serve political agendas. The president of the Sarasota County Teachers’ Association went so far as to say, “You can’t just throw a hot body into a classroom.

As the sponsor of the bill that established this new path and as a veteran myself, I am here to set the record straight.

Let’s start with the details. Under the new law, military veterans can obtain a five-year temporary teaching certificate without a bachelor’s degree, provided they have a minimum of 48 months of active duty military service with an honorable or medical discharge, a minimum 60 college credits and pass the same Florida exam as traditional teachers. Anyone who receives temporary certification through this route must still obtain a bachelor’s degree within five years or they will not be able to receive full professional certification to continue teaching.


As expected, this innovative initiative is extremely popular. In fact, it was passed unanimously by the Florida Legislature as part of Senate Bill 896. That’s right – not a single elected Republican or Democrat voted against it. It was further supported by a coalition of education nonprofits, including the Florida Citizens Alliance, the Florida Parent Teacher Association, and several veterans advocacy organizations.

It’s easy to understand the widespread support. Every year, Florida teachers come into the classroom for the very first time. Many college graduates come with a newly minted bachelor’s degree and ideally some classroom exposure, such as an apprenticeship or side job at college.

Compare this experience to a veteran who has spent at least four years on active duty – not only sacrificing himself in the service of his country, but also participating in courses and training exercises focused on excellence and leadership. – and probably teaching many of their own. How can we say that the veteran is not as qualified as a recent university graduate?

Finding gainful employment is one of the biggest challenges veterans face when they leave military service. The transition to civilian life can be difficult, and unemployment has been shown to be a contributing factor to depression and suicide.

These scourges are ravaging our veteran communities with approximately 20 veterans committing suicide every day. By providing a longer employment track for veterans to earn their bachelor’s degree, Florida values ​​their military skills and experience while helping them start rewarding careers.

In Florida, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and the State Legislature, we recognize that there are many different paths to preparing someone to teach and inspire our future generations. This veteran initiative is an addition to Florida’s 11 existing education pathways. It recognizes our service members while requiring the same standards to receive full professional teaching certification.

We are proud of the bipartisan work that established the military veteran certification pathway, and we look forward to its full implementation starting this school year. That’s good for veterans, students, and Florida State — which is already ranked third in the nation for K-12 results.


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