Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
The federal government launched a Troops to Teachers program in 1993 to recruit veterans to become certified teachers.
Education Department data for 2019 shows about 2% of teachers are military veterans. The data includes public and private schools and preschool through high school.
Florida launched its own program in 2022 to give veterans five-year teaching certifications. Military.com found that six months into the program, seven veterans became teachers.
In a CNN town hall featuring former President Donald Trump, moderator Kaitlan Collins said there had been more than 200 mass shootings in 2023 and asked Trump whether he would sign into law any new gun restrictions if reelected.
Trump replied that he supports schools hiring teachers with gun experience.
"Many of these teachers are soldiers, ex-soldiers, ex-policeman," Trump said May 10. "They’re people that really understand weapons."
Trump suggested schools need only 5% of teachers armed, which was similar to a statement he made at the April National Rifle Association convention.
Research shows that armed school police do not prevent school shootings. The National Education Association teachers’ union and the National Association of School Resource Officers dispute that arming teachers is a viable solution.
We asked a Trump spokesperson for evidence that "many" teachers are ex-soldiers or former police officers, and he sent back a repeat of Trump’s words and a link to his comments at the NRA convention.
Our research found that Trump exaggerated how many teachers are veterans; we found no national data on how many teachers are ex-police officers.
The U.S. Education Department keeps statistics on teachers who are military veterans. No matter how you slice the data, it shows former service members represent a tiny fraction of teachers nationwide.
The department’s data for 2019, the most recent available, shows about 2% of the nation’s approximately 5.4 million teachers are military veterans — roughly 107,000. That includes public and private school teachers from preschool through high school.
A federal program, Troops to Teachers, helps service members and veterans become certified and employed as teachers in K-12 schools. The program launched in 1993 was canceled Oct. 1, 2020, and reauthorized in December 2021. About half of the states participate in the program.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed a bill in 2022 to give military veterans a path to a five-year teaching certificate. Military.com, a respected source of military news, contacted all of Florida’s school districts and found that six months after the program started, seven teachers were hired. At the start of the 2022-23 school year, Florida had more than 5,000 teacher openings.
A January press release from the DeSantis administration said more than 500 veterans had applied for the program.
We contacted teachers unions and law enforcement experts and could find no national data source on the percentage of teachers who are former police officers.
Christopher R. Herrmann, an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said, "There is very little 'national data' on police, since we have over 17,000 police departments and no one really keeps track of them, let alone the officers."
Discussing the idea of arming teachers in schools to limit mass shootings, Trump said, "Many of these teachers are soldiers, ex-soldiers, ex-policeman."
Education Department data for 2019 shows about 2% of the nation’s 5.4 million teachers are military veterans. Roughly 107,000 people is not a small number, but it represents a tiny fraction of the teaching corps.
We found no data on what percentage of teachers are ex-police officers, and Trump’s campaign provided no evidence.
We rate this claim Mostly False.
Military.com, This Vets Program Was Supposed to Help Fix the Teacher Shortage in Florida. It's Only Added 7. Dec. 14, 2022
National Education Association, New NEA national survey: educators overwhelmingly reject proposals to arm teachers, March 13, 2018
Department of Defense, Troops To Teachers, Accessed May 11, 2023
Everytown for Gun Safety, Arming teachers introduces new risks into schools, 2019
Politico, Trump sees veterans as the perfect armed teachers, but they’re divided, March 1, 2018
Rev.com, Donald Trump addresses NRA meeting in Indianapolis: transcript, April 17, 2023
National Association of School Resource Officers, NASRO opposes arming teachers, Feb. 22, 2018
Gov. Ron DeSantis, Press release, Jan. 9, 2023
Email interview, Steven Cheung, Donald Trump campaign spokesperson, May 11, 2023
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.