The Duval County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved 162 teacher terminations, including 118 who have failed to pass required certification exams or elected not to take them to maintain their certification to teach.
That is an increase from 109 the year before, said district spokeswoman Laureen Ricks.
Meanwhile, the district is trying to fill 174 open teaching positions before the first day of school, Aug. 14. That’s better than this time last year, when there 316 vacancies, said interim Superintendent Patricia Willis.
In total, 98 percent of instructional positions are filled, Willis said.
Around the state, districts are facing teacher shortages in certain subjects and specialties as the number of teachers who failed parts of the exams to obtain or maintain teachers licenses rose.
According to an Ed Week article and state figures, Florida’s General Knowledge test in 2013 and 2014 had passing rates of over 90 percent but that fell to 63 percent in 2015. Also, the math test used to have 80 percent passing rates but in 2015 that fell to 57 percent.
The state teachers tests were rewritten in 2015 to be more difficult to pass.
Before 2009, the Florida Department of Education subsidized test takers, and teachers paid $25 to take each part of the multi-part tests. They also did not have to pay to retake sections they failed.
Now teachers pay Pearson up to $200 per section, and $20 more to retake each section.