Oklahoma Issues Record-Breaking Number Of Emergency Teaching Certificates
TULSA, Oklahoma - The teaching shortage in Oklahoma is breaking more records.
In a meeting last week, the state board of education granted 43 more emergency teaching certificates to schools across the state. That means the total number of emergency certifications for this school year is in the hundreds, more than ever before.
Most schools already have at least one certified emergency teacher but a new grant adds more, specifically in Jenks, Broken Arrow and throughout Muskogee and Tulsa Counties.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, as many as 52,000 students in the state are being taught by teachers who don't have traditional teaching certificates.
Getting the proper training for these emergency certified teachers could take at least five years.
The superintendent of Union Public Schools said the budget is the issue and teachers in Oklahoma deserve more support from their communities and the state legislature.
"We've gotta do something here. We cannot continue to say that 'we value our teachers and we respect them,' 'they mean so much to us' but yet, guess what, we're not willing to pay you for that value we place in you," said Union Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler.
Hartzler fears it will take a long time to reverse the value Oklahomans seem to place in public education.
Still, he remains hopeful, he said.