MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jose Dotres laid out his vision for the upcoming school year on Friday morning as teachers and students get ready to return.
Dotres gave his opening school address at his alma mater, Miami Senior High School, located at 2450 SW 1st St.
During his speech, Dotres touted the graduation rate since the pandemic has gone up from 89% to 92%. He also recognized the challenges that public schools are seeing such as a nationwide teacher shortage.
Just last week, MDCPS hired more than 600 teachers and as of Friday, there are currently 280 vacancies in comparison to Broward Schools, which has around 190 vacancies.
Dotres said that recruiting remains a top priority in Miami-Dade through a college residency program that pays, which allows college students in their last year to opt out of student teaching and instead get hired by the school district to begin their careers and finish their degrees.
“It will be a game changer,” Dotres told Local 10 News when discussing the new program.
A second initiative is a teacher residency program that pairs people with an Associate of Arts degree with a veteran teacher for two years.
Teachers have said that there are several factors behind the shortage, one of them being the stresses of politics in Tallahassee.
“All these culture wars are really impacting the morale of our workforce and there are teachers that are so passionate about the work that they do, but they want to teach with authenticity. They want to teach truth,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, President of the United Teachers of Dade.
Districts are trying to remain competitive which is evident by the bump in pay as it was reported that teachers in Miami-Dade will be receiving a 7 to 10 percent increase in salary.
In South Florida, there is a reality we all have to face: The high cost of living.
“We know that insurance prices are through the roof. We know that there is a housing crisis and so all these things are real issues that regular working-day people need to get resolved,” said Hernandez-Mats.
School starts on Aug.17 in Miami-Dade and on Aug 21. in Broward.