Joe Henderson: The idea of turning to former military members as teachers has merit


DeSantis’ idea about allowing former military members to become teachers is reasonable.

All right, my teacher friends.

You know I support you and believe you perform a noble and vital service to Florida. Inhale deeply, let it out slowly, and try not to overreact after reading the next sentence.

Here goes: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ idea to allow military veterans who lack a four-year teaching degree a pathway to the classroom has merit.

Yes, I said that.

Of course, DeSantis can’t say good morning without throwing a sharp elbow, which is what he did on Wednesday with his trademark snark.

“You give me somebody who has four years of experience as a Devil Dog over somebody who has four years of experience at Shoehorn U, and I will take the Marine every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Brevard County.

The Governor’s shot was demeaning and insulting to many current teachers who studied damn hard at schools like the University of South Florida to earn a four-year degree. But that’s the DeSantis way of doing things, so let’s stay focused and waste no more time on that cheap remark.

Back on point, Florida schools welcome back students over the next week, and administrators are scrambling to fill thousands of teaching jobs. A military veteran, in theory, has the discipline and demeanor to be successful in the classroom.

However, that veteran also would have to complete certain subject area tests and other requirements to receive final certification.

Under a pending Senate bill, they would have five years to do that.

That seems reasonable to me.

One of my best teachers back in the day was an ex-military man who taught history and supported Barry Goldwater. I looked forward to Mr. Turkelson’s class every day because he was thought-provoking and made history come alive.

In the meantime, look at those “Shoehorn U” schools DeSantis mocked.

There was a 35% decline nationwide in the number of students majoring in education. That’s probably because they see the junk coming from lawmakers about public schools.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people keep moving to Florida and bringing their kids.

So, DeSantis was right when he asked, “OK, how can we get more talent into our school system?”

It’s a good question and a problem that will take years, if not decades, to solve.

Turning to former military members could be a good piece of the puzzle.

Couldn’t we just leave it at that?

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