Florida Is Facing a Critical Teacher Shortage

Florida is facing a critical teacher shortage.

The state has been offering all kinds of incentives to attract more people to the profession. Okaloosa Walton College wants to offer a four-year degree in education to help offset the shortage.

State officials say that we're short about 30,000 teachers. We need to fill about 30,000 slots state wide this coming year. The shortage of teachers has become a harsh reality for Florida school districts.

Dr. Jill White, OWC Senior V.P., says the college is hoping to help by adding an education degree to its course offerings.

"We would offer a new bachelors degree option here at the college the bachelor degree would allow people to pursue our elementary education degree with an endorsement in reading and would allow us to train secondary or middle school secondary math and science teachers and interdisciplinary social science teachers at the middle school levels which are the three biggest needs in this area."
Escambia and Okaloosa Counties alone need a total of 500 new teachers to fill current vacancies.

Dr. White says the state Board of Education will decide whether or not to approve the college's proposal.

"We feel very confident that the quality of the program proposal and the need here will be compelling enough that we'll come away somehow with some additional teacher education baccalaureate responsibilities here at the college."

If approved, Okaloosa Walton College could start enrolling students in the program as early as August of 2007.