Cover: Florida K–12 Mathematics Teachers' Credentials and Preparation

Florida K–12 Mathematics Teachers' Credentials and Preparation

Findings from the 2022 Learn Together Surveys

Published Dec 12, 2022

by Lucas Greer, Zandra De Araujo, Elizabeth D. Steiner

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Florida is experiencing a shortage of high-quality mathematics teachers. According to the Florida Department of Education, there was a critical shortage of kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics teachers at the start of the 2022–2023 school year. To contribute to Florida policymakers' understanding of the composition and preparation of the mathematics teacher workforce, the authors present selected findings from the 2022 Learn Together Survey, describing the credentialing pathways taken by Florida mathematics teachers, the mathematics teachers' perspectives on the content of their teacher preparation programs, and the availability and helpfulness of resources to enter and complete a teacher preparation program.

Key Findings

  • Education was the most popular college major for Florida mathematics teachers, with mathematics at a distant second. Florida mathematics teachers were less likely to have earned an advanced degree than mathematics teachers nationally.
  • Undergraduate teacher preparation programs were the most common pathway for Florida mathematics teachers, followed by post-baccalaureate and alternative certification programs.
  • Florida and national mathematics teachers who completed alternative certification programs did so because they were less expensive and provided a faster path to teaching than university-based programs. However, Florida mathematics teachers were more likely than national mathematics teachers to report that the school district that hired them ran the alternative certification program.
  • Several of the supports to enter and complete teacher preparation programs that Florida mathematics teachers thought were most helpful — such as student loan forgiveness programs — were also those they had the least access to.
  • Florida mathematics teachers reported that their teacher preparation program prepared them to teach mathematics and support diverse groups of students, irrespective of the type of program they had completed.
  • Florida mathematics teachers wanted more time in their teacher preparation programs to learn about managing student behavior, social and emotional learning, practical strategies to engage students, and supporting students with disabilities.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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