Critics say higher standards could create teacher shortages


First, it was the tough, new Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for students. Now it will be tougher tests for teachers.

Florida wants teachers to get higher grades on certification exams for some subjects, like chemistry and health.

But WFTV's Racquel Asa learned that the move could hurt districts because certain subjects, particularly involving science, are already hard to recruit for.

Andrew Spar represents the 4,400 teachers in Volusia County. He said the new standards don't guarantee the best teachers.

"What's worse, in my opinion, is having a classroom that has a substitute because we haven't been able to get a teacher who is certified and capable of being in that classroom," said Spar.

Last year more than 1,000 people passed the certification test to teach biology in grades six through 12. With the new standards, only 250 are expected to make the grade.

Richard Sharkey's daughter will have to take those tough tests before taking a job in Titusville.

"We need to make sure the students that are coming up through, they are teachers they can really look up to and respect their knowledge," said Sharkey.

Spar said he hopes they'll have those teachers to begin with.

"I don't think it's getting at what they're trying to do, which is get the best teachers in the classroom," said Spar.

If the Florida Department of Education approves the tougher standards for teachers, they will go into effect in September.