Oklahoma schools have not been able to overcome the lack of teachers willing to work in our public schools, and the bandage they are using is not an effective answer to the problem.
It is common knowledge that many residents who become teachers take their degrees and work elsewhere because they can get better pay.
To help alleviate the shortage, the State Department of Education provided almost 3,000 emergency certifications for the 2017-18 school year.
The idea was that the teachers who were emergency certified would continue their own education to become trained and licensed educators.
As it turns out, fewer than 1 in 3 teachers who were emergency certified during the 2017-18 school year have completed their requirements, according to the data compiled by the State Department of Education. And last school year, of the nearly 3,000 teachers who were emergency certified, just 12.5 percent have received their nonemergency certification, according to the data. Some have dropped out of school themselves.
“I think it’s a clear indication that this not the pathway to becoming a teacher, nor has it ever been the intention to make emergency certification a pathway to becoming a teacher in the state of Oklahoma,” said state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
We would have to agree. As badly as our schools need educators, taking a short cut will result in short-changing our children.
Hofmeister plans to nearly eliminate 95 percent of emergency certifications by 2025. That solves the emergency certification issue, but it doesn't get teachers into Oklahoma classrooms.
Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, summed it up: state officials should continue to invest in public education, continue to increase pay for educators and find ways to incentivize people to go to college to become teachers.