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.
- 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.
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 Corporation 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.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. All users of the publication are permitted to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material, including for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.