Charles Dolar, the high school band director at Wolfson High School, could lose his job -- because he failed a math test.
Florida requires its teachers to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam to remain employed by schools. There are four different types of tests -- General Knowledge, Professional Education, Educational Leadership and numerous subject exams, including math -- and testing requirements vary by individual.
Dolar told WTLV that he had to take four parts of the exam, and passed all but math.
"I was devastated, I actually fell apart in the place, and they had to escort me out and everything because that was my whole life right there," he said.
Although Dolar worked with a tutor, he still failed to pass the test a second time, but he's not giving up and is going for a third.
"I explain to my students, you know, the benefits of math and music, but as a musician I don't do a lot of algebra in my teaching," Dollar said.
The math subject test is required by the Florida Legislature and the Department of Education to obtain a professional teaching certificate, even for someone who will not be teaching math. From the state's Education Department:
Although some people may not use formal algebra and geometry in their daily life, these and other mathematical skills are considered by the Department to be an important part of an educator's professional teaching credentials. This test of basic skills will provide an underlying baseline for a teacher's future career, which might include teaching at another level or working in administrative positions.
When the state DOE announced earlier this year that officials want teachers to earn higher scores on their certification exams, some educators argued that higher testing standards could lead to a shortage of teachers, especially for science courses.
"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 fo being in that classroom," Volusia Teachers Organization President Andrew Spar told WFTV.