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Media Tries to Dunk on DeSantis Over Teacher Shortage—Gets Schooled Instead

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is calling on the Sunshine State’s military veterans to join Florida’s workforce as school teachers. But there are certain criteria that must be met. Still, illiterate members of the press seized on the opportunity to try to school DeSantis without carefully reading the veteran-friendly state’s specifications first. So, is Florida actually encouraging veterans without any background in teaching to serve as educators?

CLAIM: The Washington Post’s economics correspondence Abha Bhattarai blindly repeated a false claim verbatim in a tweet Wednesday that Florida is asking veterans “with no teaching background to enter classrooms,” while sharing her Ivy League-educated colleague’s reporting on the growing teacher-shortage crisis. WaPo education reporter Hannah Natanson, a Harvard University alumna, penned the initial claim in an article published in The Washington Post. In fact, the “no teaching background” line was in the lede graf.

FACTS: The assertion’s placement at the top of the story directly contradicts Natanson’s acknowledgment further down in the report that the state’s veterans do not need bachelor’s degrees BUT must have earned a minimum of 60 college credits while maintaining a grade-point average of at least 2.5 on an official transcript. As of Friday, no correction has been made at the bottom of Natanson’s piece to acknowledge the contradiction.

Bhattarai’s ratio’ed tweet was in almost a copy-paste format that other WaPo writers used with similar verbiage to circulate Natanson’s coverage, including the newspaper’s national political reporter Amy B. Wang and business reporter Hamza Shaban. Bloomberg national political reporter Emma Kinery and POLITICO education editor Delece Smith-Barrow also participated in the copypasta chain, quoting WaPo’s social media blurb.

The claim even made its way to CNN’s site and its “What Matters” newsletter. “Here’s a good example in The Washington Post, which looked at…a plan to bring veterans with no teaching backgroundin to Florida schools.”

Florida firebrand Christina Pushaw, who used to be the governor’s press secretary before she joined the DeSantis re-election team, swiftly shut down the clown show. “Another falsehood from the Washington Post. Veterans do have ‘teaching background.’ Also, the certification requirements are public, and this common-sense reform passed unanimously. Yes, every Florida DEMOCRAT in the state legislature voted FOR it,” she tweeted.

For churnalists who are apparently too lazy to click a link & read the @EducationFL website for 2 minutes, here’s a screenshot of the requirements of the teacher certification pathway for veterans. Passed unanimously. No reason to oppose it, unless you are biased against veterans pic.twitter.com/x0G21puz7V

— Christina Pushaw ?? ???? (@ChristinaPushaw)

In the two-part thread quote tweeting Bhattarai’s post, Pushaw attached a link to the Florida Department of Education’s webpage outlining the requirements of the teacher certification pathway for military veterans.

Qualified veterans will receive a five-year temporary teaching certificate while working towards a bachelor’s degree. A passing exam score in the subject area for the course the veteran wants to teach is required for eligibility, demonstrating “mastery of subject area knowledge,” the teaching standards, which specify employment in a Florida school district with an assigned mentor, stipulate. Certified veterans will then be matched with a mentor teacher for a minimum of two years to support “classroom teaching endeavors.” They must also earn their bachelor’s degree during the five-year period to be eligible for a full professional certificate as the temporary one cannot be renewed once it expires, another page on the state’s DOE website explains.

Calling all veterans! Florida wants you to teach in our classrooms. pic.twitter.com/CFoTpg0C48

— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis)

“Passed unanimously,” Pushaw emphasized. “No reason to oppose it, unless you are biased against veterans.”

The new guidelines implement S.B. 896, which DeSantis signed earlier in the year after it received unanimous bipartisan support throughout the 2022 legislative session, passing the state’s House and Senate with ease.

Townhall columnist Larry O’Connor highlighted the governor’s innovative approach, an “outside-the-box” idea, that offers a temporary solution to the scarcity of educators while also providing jobs to ex-military members.

Ron DeSantis has a pretty simple idea for solving Florida’s teacher shortage…and it’s driving liberals NUTS.@LarryOConnor pic.twitter.com/GLLtmL05B0

— Townhall.com (@townhallcom)

RATING: The claim propagated by elitists in the establishment media’s top ranks alleging that Florida is enlisting veterans with zero teaching background to educate the state’s school-aged children is FALSE.

There’s much to learn from this failed attempt at framing a desperate and disorderly DeSantis administration. Perhaps this moment could teach the pompous snobs looking down from their ivory tower a thing or two about the incalculable value of America’s veterans, who provide talents, skills, and life experience that kids won’t find in a traditional classroom setting. As for the next inevitable “dunk” on DeSantis, it’s back to the chalkboard they go.

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