Education Department aims to cut wait time for teacher certification

The goal is to eliminate the backlog within 120 days.
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran
SCOTT KEELER | Times Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran
Published Jan. 29, 2019

Citing a 55 percent decrease in teacher certification approvals since 2017, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran announced on Tuesday steps to speed the process and get more educators approved.

In an after-hours press statement, Corcoran announced he had moved six employees to the Bureau of Educator Certification to reduce the backlog of unprocessed applications.

He also named a single person for superintendents to contact if they have concerns about specific applicants, and told superintendents they could send in applications to be prioritized, “which the department will immediately address.”

Corcoran noted in his statement that the problems had grown since 2017, when the department changed its certification system. Since then, the situation looked like this, according to the department: The wait time for certificate processing increased and the number of educator certificates issued dropped from 70,166 in 2016-17 to 31,397 in 2017-18.

“Upon taking the helm, I became aware of an inefficiency and began immediately developing solutions,” Corcoran said in his released statement. “These unreasonable wait times for our school teachers are unacceptable, and this stops today. Governor DeSantis asked me to ensure the Department operates in an efficient and accountable manner and these actions demonstrate my commitment to honoring that request.”