Task Force Recommendations Look To End Teacher Shortage Crisis In Oklahoma
TULSA, Oklahoma - Nearly 1,000 teachers are in Oklahoma schools thanks to the emergency certification program. Sixth-grade math teacher Vincent Biondi is one of them.
"Everyone, I think, understands the need for good teacher and not just the need in this district but statewide," said Biondi.
Before moving to Tulsa, he taught in Arkansas for eight years. He switched careers but later wanted back in the classroom.
Without the emergency certification program, it could have taken Biondi years and hundreds of dollars to get back into teaching.
"There's [no] other opportunity out there other than this one that was given," he explained.
The state’s 90 member Teacher Shortage Task Force hopes to get even more people in the classroom by implementing nine new ideas.
"We know we need to target a solution for teacher shortage in order to have greater gains for the students of Oklahoma," said state school superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
The top recommendations include creating a scholarship that will pay for teacher exam fees. Right now, teachers must take three exams, costing about $500 in all.
They also suggest recognizing teaching certifications from other states and tripling the amount of time adjunct teachers can spend in the classroom.
"Due to the financial challenges we face in our state, it only highlights the importance of moving forward with these nine recommendations since the majority of them don't have a hefty price tag associated with them," Hofmeister added.
Although the state board of education approved the recommendation, it'll need legislative action before it can take effect.
To get a more detailed look at all 9 recommendations visit the following link: Teacher Shortage Task Force Preliminary Report