Should Unlicensed Veterans Be Teaching?

Veterans should be certified, just like our teachers.


U.S Air Force/Sachel Harris

Ron Desantis spoke at Egblin Air Force base in Florida on April 19.

Makayah McCray, Staff Writer

Gov. Ron DeSantis backed a bill passed through the Florida Senate that will impact Florida education significantly. The SB 896 bill will allow veterans to teach in Florida schools without a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate. The only requirements are a minimum of 48 months of military service, an honorable and medical discharge, minimum of 60 college credits with a 2.5 GPA, passing score on a Florida exam, employment in a Florida school district, including charter schools, and a cleared background check, according to the Florida Department of Education.

“I think it’s good to get veterans back in the workforce. I also think that it could be a little bit hasty in terms of having someone prepared to teach in the classroom. If they offer classes to help these veterans out in the ways of teaching, then it may be very good,” Boe Walker, a teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree in History, said.

Offering teaching classes would be the best option for moving forward with this bill. Teachers are required to go through extensive training, exams and certifications; allowing people who are not as qualified would be unfair to teachers who had to earn their titles.

“I’m not really a big fan of this bill, because it takes a lot of training to become a teacher and I don’t think that veterans in the military got the proper tools to walk in the classroom and teach people’s children,” Cartier Scott said, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

To become a Florida teacher the Florida Department of Education requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree prior to taking Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE): General Knowledge Test (GKT), and the Professional Education Test (PEd) are all required and within a more limited time for teachers than untrained veterans. On FTCE testing, teachers are required to pass with a minimum of 200 points, and the GKT exam requires at least 8 out of 12 points to be earned. Allowing Veterans to bypass these steps could prove to be detrimental to Florida’s education system. These regulations are in place to make sure students have quality education and ignoring these requirements would be incomprehensible.

If veterans went through the same processes that teachers do, the responses to this bill would be less reactive. Allowing veterans to teach for up to five years without a teaching certificate should not be allowed. Training should be required and higher education should be required, as it is for teachers.

In the state of Florida, rifles, shotguns and handguns can be bought by anyone 18 years old or older. Florida also does not require a permit, license or registration to purchase a gun. This is an ongoing problem in the United States, guns are too accessible and it is shown through the mass shootings. Florida has been ranked state number four, for school shootings in the United States, since May 2022, according to Sharon Lurye of U.S. News.

DeSantis is pushing this bill because he wants teachers to have guns in schools. Veterans are wanted for protection in the classrooms, not teaching. Although this could prove to be beneficial for safety, it is a temporary solution for a life-threatening issue; there are alternative steps for keeping schools safer, that politicians do not want to take.