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Hundreds Of Emergency Certified Teachers Head To Classrooms Across Oklahoma

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Hundreds of emergency certified teachers are heading into classrooms across the state, as schools deal with teacher shortages in key subjects. Hundreds of emergency certified teachers are heading into classrooms across the state, as schools deal with teacher shortages in key subjects.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Hundreds of emergency certified teachers are heading into classrooms across the state, as schools deal with teacher shortages in key subjects.

The state has recently approved more than 500 new teachers to head to schools, but it may be too little too late for schools that are stretching their budgets and the time of their teachers just to make it to the end of class.

More than 1000 spots are left unfilled.

8/3/15 Related Story: State Superintendent Calls Teacher Shortage A Crisis

On Thursday, the state board of education approved 503 new emergency certifications. It’s roughly the number of all emergency certifications given out last year. But those were already counted.

“This new round of emergency certified teachers does not count in the number we talked about earlier, as we’ve seen some news come out recently that we’re still at 1000 teachers short,” said Oklahoma Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister.

So far this year, more than 700 certifications have been given out, compared to 2011 when just 32 were approved by the state.

“There is going to be a need for a long term solution and if we happen to have the money to last just this year to solve it, it’s got to last beyond just one year,” said Hoffmeister.

And for many educators that solution can't come soon enough. Like for Edmond North High School Principal Jason Pittenger who says he's been trying to fill teaching spots for the last year.

“It’s extremely frustrating when you see a kid that’s passionate about learning and wants to learn and they can’t because there’s not a qualified teacher; there’s no applicants!” said Pittenger.

The subjects that are the most in need of teachers are the sciences, math and special education. The most recent area for a shortage is in elementary schools in any subject, which could mean yet another problem in already strained public schools.

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