Is Florida really THAT bad?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by waterfall, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. jama84

    jama84 New Member

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    Dec 27, 2011

    Look into Hillsborough county (Tampa area), it is one of the highest rated school districts in the state. Tampa also has a much younger culture. Also, I would look into Sarasota County and Manatee County (Bradenton), which are just south of Tampa. You would actually be surprised, but there are a lot of 20s and 30s residents. Any further south than Sarasota (Ft. Myers, Naples), there are definitely way to many retirement communities for my liking.
    and yes, the educational system may not be the best in Florida, but is it really that great anywhere in the US anymore? Florida is like any other state, it has some great districts and some not so great ones. Plus, you get the added benefit of actually teaching (which is near impossible in the Northeast/Midwest), with year round warmth and proximity to the beach. Honestly, heat doesn't bother me that much either. I also would take 95 and humid any day over snow!
    Good luck with you decision!
    p.s I also heard from a friend that Atlanta is a great place for a younger person to live, and is def. a much warmer climate than your current state. However, i'm not sure of the current teaching situation there? Also, once you leave the Atlanta metro area, Georgia can get very "country".
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  2. Crocky

    Crocky Rookie

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    Dec 27, 2011

    tonysam:

    What states or cities would you recommend? I agree with your comments, and will add that Wisconsin, NJ, NC, and Ohio (Although the voters overturned Senate Bill 5, Ohio's Governor is a Republican who takes union hating to extreme levels) are bad options for teachers.
     
  3. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Dec 28, 2011

    About Houston -- The good schools in Houston are in the suburbs and have the same type of culture as EdEd was describing about Florida. The suburbs have strip malls galore and chain restaurants. Culturally it is a wasteland. Public schools will be hiring, but it won't be in depth. If you go to the center of Houston, yes culturally there is more stuff going on...

    I lived in suburban Houston for several years, and I just packed up and moved to New Orleans. You can see good, local music any night of the week. There is ton of character in the city. All coffee shops and restaurants are locally owned. The public schools are iffy, so I am looking to get a job in the private school that I have been subbing in.

    Good Luck, Waterfall!
     
  4. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 28, 2011

    What a lot of fun you're having!

    Let's see.

    Warm
    beaches
    culture
    young people
    easy to get home so major transportation hub nearby
    reciprocity with Colorado and Ohio


    I think the bad attitude towards teachers/education could be anywhere. There are pockets of both good and bad, although I'd say Wisconsin and their lovely governor take the prize for creating the biggest mess, and California for simply having no money for education.

    Florida is about the same as any other state when it comes to education. Personally, the west coast around St. Pete doesn't do it for me, but then I think I'm in a minority for liking the Miami area.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I feel like there isn't a "good state" for education right now. If there is, I bet their job market is impossible. I would say even with the governor in OH, that's still a pretty good situation as of now since unions are so strong. My dad works in OH. In comparison to CO, the salaries are much higher with the cost of living being much, much lower, the benefits are better, the union protection is better, some places do still have tenure, and most places aren't taking budget cuts as hard as they are out here. The big plus for me as special education teacher is that ohio has laws that really protect you- you can't have more than 16 students on your caseload. That means schools can't really cut you, they have to hire more teachers if more students come along, and you legally can't end up in a situation where you have tons of kids and no time to meet the hours. However, I'm sure if you asked anyone in OH they'd tell you to run the other way. I will look in some of the OH cities when I'm searching, but I know from past experience that getting a job in OH is akin to winning the lottery. I'm also not willing to go rural, which is mostly where the few jobs are. Anyway, back to my original point, it seems like anywhere I look into, people are all too eager to tell me that the entire state is the wost place they've ever taught and the educational system is just terrible. Out of the places I've looked:
    NC- Job market is good, but they have all these new unfair evaluation systems, and I've actually talked to several special ed teachers who tell me the state is so "full inclusion" that you don't get to teach anything at all as a special ed teacher (you're more of a para in the regular classroom). Low salary, bad benefits.
    Georgia- Couldn't even find out about the job market, because everyone told me to run screaming the other way. No union, low pay, lay offs, budget cuts, "hopeless inner city kids" "all kids on IEPs are for behavior and are one step away from being in jail" etc. etc.
    SC-Pretty much the same as NC. Apparently if you don't pass the state test, you can't move up to the next grade? Again with the low pay, tenure, etc.
    St. Louis- Although I realize this isn't near the ocean, it's a city I've always liked. It's similar to my home city. It's about 5 hours from my hometown which is really nice. Apparently they're trying to pass a law that says schools MUST put 33% of their lowest performing teachers (as determined by standardized tests) on probation, bump them back to the lowest possible salary, and fire them the next year if they don't get out of the 33%. I realize bad political stuff is going on everywhere, but there are no words for that one. Again, couldn't find anything about the job market for people just telling me to run the other way. Also they apparently contract out all of their special ed teachers, and I can't find a lot of information about how that really works- but it seems like a system I wouldn't like.

    My point is, I think everyone is feeling bad about their state's/area's educational system. I don't think I've heard one positive thing yet.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2011

    My governor is difficult. He's giving unions in general a hard time, teachers unions even more so. That said, I'm a proud NJ teacher.
    New Jersey 8th graders rank highly in the nation in writing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

    Math scores are among the nation's best: New Jersey public school students score among the very best in the nation in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics

    Reading scores are among the nation's best: New Jersey public school students score among the very best in the nation in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics

    Highest Advanced Placement scores in the nation: New Jersey is first in the nation in the average Advanced Placement (AP) score for public school students in 2010.
    Source: College Board

    Public school students outperform private school students on Advanced Placement exams: In New Jersey, public school students score higher than private school students on their AP exams.
    Source: College Board

    Among the best in the nation in preparing students for higher education: The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education ranks New Jersey near the top for how well its schools prepare students for college.
    Source: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

    Yes, it's a competitive job market with hundreds of resumes for every one opening. Yes, budgets are tight. Yes, the state government is scrutinizing public schools and teachers...but I still get out of bed every day (well, not this vacation week:woot:), happy and fulfilled as a professional educator in my state. My district values professionals, invests in our pd, allows academic choices to be made by responsible educators, and we still manage to not have suffered greatly from budget cuts due to good fiscal mgt...
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 28, 2011

    Ohio's governor may not be great but I love teaching in Ohio. I'm at a private school so no union but the salaries in the schools around me are nice compared to cost of living and the unions are strong and very supportive.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 28, 2011

    Waterfall, you're exactly correct about the state of things all over the country. In that respect, you're probably not too far off the mark regarding most of Florida. I'd still stay away from Miami-Dade. It's a great place to visit, for sure, but it's not a very nice place to live. Just from a quality of life standpoint, it's not a great place.

    I just talked to a friend in Key Largo, and if you can get job in Monroe County, you'll probably be very happy. She said that she's got a great administration, lots of support, and in general, very good kids. Living in the Keys can be interesting. What I mentioned earlier about a plumber being likely to go fishing instead of keeping an appointment comes from a real situation with another friend. Actually, that friend had the most horrible time with a plumber, electrician, and an a/c guy because every time they'd set an appointment, the day would come and the weather would be good, and the guy would go out fishing. But, that's just the way of life in the Keys. It's a great place to live if you don't mind the long drive up to the mainland. There is a major grocery store and a K-Mart (or at least there was last time I checked) on Key Largo, but if you want to go to a mall or a Wal-Mart, you've got at least a 45 minute drive. Also, The Stretch can come to a standstill during evacuations, as it's one of only two roads out of Key Largo. Any farther south, and you have only one road out of the Keys, so it can get dicey for sure.

    Beyond those issues, Monroe county is a fantastic place to live, and according to my one friend that works there, it's a great place to work too.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Dec 28, 2011

    I will join in the minority of folks with a positive attitude for Florida. I have lived and worked in many places around the state and I will be here for the rest of my life. I have never had trouble getting a teaching job and the challenges I have faced here as a teacher are quite similar to the challenges I faced when I worked in other states. I am of the opinion that it is up to the individual to make a success of their job (or the opposite). I don't get involved in the politics of the school district (meaning I don't let pettiness affect me). I do get involved in as many positives experiences as I can in my school and district. I have a life outside of school (meaning I spend a great deal of time with Mickey!)

    Come to Florida and enjoy yourself. (our district is growing and hires several hundred teachers each year!)
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 28, 2011

    I don't recommend Palm Beach County School District. There are quite a few teachers here on AtoZ that teach in the Tampa/Sarasota area.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Dec 28, 2011

    I am in a suburb and have lived in this general area my whole life. Where I actually live there are tons of locally owned unique stores and restraunts and I know lots of cool places for the music scene (well I did before kids) and I live about 30-45 minutes from downtown with museums, sports parks, and other fun things to do and 40ish minutes to Galveston and all that comes with a beach town.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 30, 2011

    You shared your perspective; the OP is asking about prospective job opportunities.
     
  13. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    My perspective is different..... and I think Waterfall will agree I shared prospective job opportunities with her:) in Florida!!! Better? Me thinks so!!!!
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 30, 2011

    :D
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thank you everyone! I just signed up for my first job fair :) I'm actually really excited, which doesn't make much sense because the job market isn't good, but I'm feeling pretty optomistic for some reason. There was a huge job fair in my home city that I found very helpful when I was searching the first time. It didn't lead to a job, but I made a lot of good connections and got to do 7 interviews in one day. I just found out that same job fair for 2012 is over my spring break when I was planning to already be there visiting my family anyway. It'll be districts from all over my state as well as several other states I'm looking in that want to recruit OH candidates. I feel like I have a head start over all the current students (about to graduate in the spring) that will be there since I've already got my certification and everything. If nothing else, I can practice my interview skills!
     
  16. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Waterfall, that is great news!!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.
     
  17. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Dec 31, 2011

    Best of luck!
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 31, 2011

    If you come back to Ohio, look me up!
     
  19. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Dec 31, 2011

    I would avoid Hillsborough. I have friends that teach in Hillsborough and they used to love it. Now with the Gates grant, they are miserable.
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 31, 2011

    First of all, it sounds like you have put a LOT of thought into what you really want and where you want to be. I admire the fact you are seeking information about the area you like before making the move there and are still considering other options that would be acceptable. All of that shows a mature and intelligent approach.

    As for personal preferences, you and I are pretty much polar opposites. I would MUCH rather be in a rural area than a city. While I like arts, music, etc, these have never been a high priority for me. Having said that, I will add what advice I can to what you've already received.

    I lived in Florida for short while several years ago. I lived in Lakeland and worked in Tampa (not in the education field). Tampa was a nice city and (for someone raised in rural NC) very easy to get around in. The cost of living was higher than I was used to, but so were the salaries. Lakeland was nice, but had similar cost of living with lower salaries. I also did NOT like the heat at all. Despite that, I would have considered staying in Florida, but a dispute with my housemates made moving back to NC a better option. Other than that, I can't really say much about the education market in Florida. As you say, I figure it is about as good or bad as every other state. It all depends on what you are looking for and the attitude you take into any job you have. Things are tough for teachers everywhere, but it can still be one of the most rewarding jobs a person can find.

    As for NC, I am in the area where I was born and raised and want to spend the rest of my life. Governor Beverly Perdue is actually very PRO-education. Unfortunately, we have a Republican majority in our General Assembly and they are doing everything they can to oppose her funding and support for public schools. That is because the Republican leader believes ALL schools should be private and has tried to pass a bill that is grossly UN-fair in the distribution of funds to private and public schools. NC is also a right-to-work state with no unions, so you have to consider that.

    On the upside, at least some districts DO offer a form of tenure. In our district, it takes 10 years to reach that mark, but once you've been employed for 3 or more years, you are pretty much assured of keeping your current job as long as you are doing well with your students and parents aren't complaining about you.

    While NC does still administer End-of-Year tests as an assessment, they do NOT use them as the one and only measure of Pass/Fail as they did in the past. Even then, they hardly ever Failed a student and held them back. They just made them attend 2 weeks of Summer School. It is actually a difficult thing to have a student held back. If you recommend that, you better have a LOT of documentation to back it up. Even then, the parents would have to be consulted and give their consent.

    I appreciate the comments EdEd made about the different cities/urban areas of NC. I live fairly close to Asheville and it is the ONLY "city" I would even consider teaching in, but even that is a bit too far away from my home for my tastes. Still, I like the city a lot and it does have a good bit of culture and arts to offer. The downside is that we are a LONG way from the beach.

    One option I didn't see mentioned was the Wilmington area. A good friend of mine moved there several years ago and loves it. When he lost his job as a computer programmer, he eventually went back to school to become a radiology tech. He did so well that he now teaches the classes he used to take. So he does work in the education field and seems to really enjoy it.

    As for SPED teachers, there is a lot of inclusion, especially at the middle school level. I believe our local HS SPED teacher does have her own classroom and probably a lower level of inclusion, but I'm not sure if that is because of the severity of her kids conditions or just the fact they are better served in their own classroom.

    That's great news regarding the Job Fair. Maybe you will get some great leads and interviews while you're there. Good luck to you. Let us know how things work out. :thumb:
     
  21. Crocky

    Crocky Rookie

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    Tell us more. I've read nothing but bad things about what Gates is doing...
     
  22. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thank you! Thank you Cerek for all of that information- that's awesome! MATgrad, we actually have a Gates grant too. I agree it brings nothing but trouble! I hate the turn our schools have taken (which unfortunately, I think will soon become a more nationwide thing) because of it.
     
  23. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    education.tampabay.com has tons of info about the Gates grant. It's also a great resource on everything happening on education in Florida. My district isn't involved in the Gates grant but like all of Florida were affected by the passage of SB736 which has completely changed everything for teachers.
     
  24. Pooh and Piglet

    Pooh and Piglet New Member

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    In what district do you work?
     
  25. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    I agree with this. When I saw waterfall's original post I just shook my head because I realize that no matter what I said, they will think and do what they want. Usually people ask these questions because they want POSITIVE renforcement of a major life decision. If the reality is negative they will spin it to a positive, just look at their first follow-up post.

    Florida is a very bad place to be a teacher, just google the education news here. I just earned my Masters and I am trying hard to get a curriculum support position next year and get out of the classroom. This is only after four years of teaching.
     
  26. springmac

    springmac Companion

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    Florida

    I know I'm coming in a little late on this thread, but I wanted to share my own experience.
    I a career changer. I obtained my degree in PA a few years ago. All I was able to land was long term subbing jobs. They are great, because they do pay teacher salary, but there was never any guarantee for the next year. My hubby's company expanded to Florida, and we were asked to move. Tampa area. I went down in June for an interview day and received two job offers! I took a job at an IB magnet school.
    I was worried because all of my PA teacher friends said the education system down here is terrible, and my children will receive a subpar education (we lived in a high performing district in PA). I found it to be quite the opposite! Both of my children (5th and 7th grade) were behind. The curriculum down here seems more rigorous than up north. Granted, these kids are tested to death down here, but that is starting to happen up north too.
    The cons: I'm in Hillsborough County & we have to do these peer evaluations. This means that someone I don't even know will come in to my classroom and observe me. Her observation will factor in to my overall evaluation...kinda scary to me. Also, test scores are factored in. Also scary. It does get hot down here in the summer and there is rainy season, so it will rain EVERY DAY during the summer. Not all day long, but there will be lots of rain in storms. I love storms so no big, and I have AC and a pool to deal with the heat.
    The pros: For me, the weather. I love the heat. Winters are fantastic here. Cost of living is lower here than up north. We were able to afford a house double the size of our home up north...with a pool! Yes there are bugs, that's why we have a service spray around our home every 45 days. I've never seen a spider, palmetto, lizard or any large bugs in my home. I have a job! Yes, no tenure, but I have a job. I worked in the private sector for years & never had tenure or a contract. If I did my job, I kept my job.
    I'm actually glad we moved. We are very happy here. Yes, I took a pay cut, but hubby got a raise, so it all evened out for us.
    Good luck to you in whatever you decide!
     
  27. ohio

    ohio New Member

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Florida Republicans hate teachers and they run state..enough said.

    Where to start about Florida teachers. I graduated from Ohio and moved to Florida to get a teaching job and started right away. The pay in Broward county was poverty level and they were better than 90% of the state. The district had incompetant administrators who never disciplined any student so they could advance to the crystal ball palace emrald city downtown and never deal with students. Discipline was horrible and I was at a "A" school. the retirement is lousy 42% and now the governor wants to make you pay more for measly pension. The Republicons have tried numerous times to use vouchers to siphon off the good students( and make a profit to their rich buddies or a payoff to the church to get public money) while leaving the crap to the public schools who have to take all students who dont speak the language. Learn spanish, I had many kids who had no shot of passing because HI Mister is only english words they knew. Florida is a place for the rich and not workers. I went three years without a raise and teachers get blamed for gang students and immigrants who dont even come to school ever or care about education. If they fail, its your fault. Florida tries every cooky crazy quick fix scam about education because its cheaper than hiring qualified teachers and supporting them. 1 out of 3 beginning teachers leaves the profession in 5 years. I lasted 6 and went back to Ohio. Luckily I was a coach and got a job. You would have to be looneytoons to think of a teaching career in Florida. I can see getting experience for a short time, but this is teacher hell and no way to spend a career. Girls are hot though



    :dizzy:
     
  28. ohio

    ohio New Member

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    Also....Florida is king of the Fancy name programs that a old ideas that failed in the past with new names. Padaia was a fun one with a crazy new idea of class projects or FLARE where we try crazy ideas like graphic organizers. You get forced these new ideas and than they drop them in a year or two and try another one. How about FHTAIC Florida hates teachers and is cheap. Dont worry, the state finds money for tax cuts every year so grandpa can escape his 1% tax on his investments over 500,000.
     
  29. Xidous003

    Xidous003 Companion

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    I have friends who teach in FL. It has its pros and cons. Generally pay and job security are not the same as in other states (NY or CA).

    The impression I got was that it was a great place to gain experience and up your credentials, but a tough state to teach and live in for the long-term.
     
  30. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    I'll admit I didn't read this whole thread, so maybe I'm repeating someone else.

    My aunt has taught in several areas in FL. She was originally in Gainesville and then moved to the panhandle to a very small, rural town.

    At the rural school they still practice corporal punishment. It was a shock to her and she avoids sending anyone to the office because they do use a paddle.

    I'm not saying this is everywhere, but be aware that it is some places.
     
  31. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Haha, this post is so old...I figured I should chime in since people are still replying...I have already taken another job in a different state so the whole Florida thing can't happen anyway.
     
  32. Jen_NC

    Jen_NC New Member

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    After reading this ... I am a little worried. I am currently a upper school social science teacher and coach at an independent school in NC. However, my husband is PCS'ing (army for being moved) from Ft. Bragg to MacDill (Tampa). I don't have much choice but to move for FL.

    I have to say that comparatively speaking to NC schools, FL did not look bad at all with the exception of having their own certification testing system. The pay is about the same for Hillsborough and Pasco counties as it is in my area of NC. Benefits are not as good, but with my husband's military benefits that really isn't an issue for me.

    The testing worries me a little. Since I have been teaching in an independent school, and swore never to teach for the local districts again, I let my NC certification expire. I have taken the PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II subject matter, PLT, and foundations tests and passed with relative ease. However, the lack of information on the FTCE scares me particularly when I hear stories of people taking it multiple times (and paying for it multiple times) and failing. I ordered the study guides for the general knowledge and the professional educational exams. I am a little worried about my lack of knowledge of Florida in the test and the fact that there is almost no prep material for the subject matter tests.

    So for the questions:
    1. How do the general knowledge and professional education test compare to the PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II in relative difficulty?

    2. Are there any legitimate study materials that anyone can recommend for the Health Education Exam? My degree master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion is apparently not enough for the state of FL , and I have to test out on this subject for a temp license/statement of eligibility.

    3. Does anyone have experience working with independent schools in the Tampa area? Has your experience been positive? Honestly, I have enjoyed working in an independent school where it was less bureaucracy and had more freedom in the classroom.
     
  33. msquaredlee

    msquaredlee New Member

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    Mar 17, 2014

    Great post, one more question.

    Thank you for that post and reply. What I would like to know is how does the Florida Retirement system for teachers work and is anything lost when relocating there from another state?

    Mick
     

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