Florida’s public school teachers’ yearly income is ranked the 45th worst nationally. That’s according to a poll by the National Education Association. The census also found the average teacher salary in Florida has decreased in the past decade by 12 percent. In response to these statistics, the Florida Education Association is asking state politicians to take a pledge to increase Florida teacher wages.
According to state records, 40 percent of new teachers in Florida leave the classroom within their first five years. The FEA, a statewide teacher labor union, says pay is a big part of the problem. The FEA’s Director of Communications Sharon Nesvig says the union is asking politicians to sign a salary pledge.
“Candidates and lawmakers who sign the FEA pledge to improve teacher and education staff professional’s salaries promise to, and I quote, only vote for and support budgets and policies that ensures Florida’s teachers and education staff professionals will be paid at least the national average by fiscal year 2023," says Nesvig.
Democratic gubernatorial Candidates Chris King, Phillip Levine, Gwen Graham, and Andrew Gillum have signed the pledge. Republican gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis did not immediately return a call for comment.