Letters to the Editor

Let’s support teachers in our community

Teachers matter and support for teachers is critical. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has achieved incredible success, much of which can be credited to the countless committed teachers who spend each day working diligently for children who will determine the future direction and vitality of our community.

Across the country, the average salary for teachers has fallen while the cost of living has risen. We have an opportunity to begin to rectify this issue in our community. Several sources of evidence link teacher pay to recruitment, retention and student outcomes.

Florida, and indeed the nation, is experiencing a critical shortage of teachers, especially in the STEM, English/Language Arts/Reading, Special Education, and TESOL certification areas.

Communities that can provide commensurate compensation for teachers can attract and keep highly quality teachers. Without teachers we would not have an educated workforce; our future depends on teachers and a quality public education for all.

Compared to other regions in the country, teacher pay here is lower and turnover higher; many teachers are leaving Florida to teach where higher salaries are offered.

According to the Learning Policy Institute, the Florida rating of “Teacher Attractiveness” is in the lowest quintile, with starting salaries below the national average.

As the daughter of teachers and the parent of a child in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system, and as someone who has personally and professionally experienced the power of education to transform lives, I urge voters to consider Referendum #362. It will generate revenue for teacher salaries and provide increased safety and security via a proposed levy on residential property.

Laura Kohn-Wood,

dean, School of Education and Human Development,

University of Miami

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