Despite a teacher raise, it appears the teacher shortage is getting worse. The State Board of Education will be asked to approve a record number of emergency certifications later this week.
The Board meets on Thursday and will be asked to approve 853 emergency certified teachers for July. Last July, that number was at 631.
In addition, last month the Board approved 384 applications compared to 224 last year.
So, this year, Oklahoma schools will start the year with 1,237 emergency certified teachers compared to 855 last year.
Officials with the State Department of Education say they expect those numbers to be high again in August.
“It’s disheartening, the numbers are skyrocketing. It’s not what we want to see,” said Deana Silk, the Deputy Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Department of Education.
Emergency certified teachers are those who want to teach and have a degree, but not the necessary testing and education.
“These teachers, while we are grateful for them, they don’t have the training they may not know how to handle a class that has 30 plus students,” said Silk.
Earlier this year with the threat of a teacher walkout, the legislature passed a pay raise to help curb the teacher shortage. But Silk and other school officials say the shortage is not going away overnight.
“Down the road, the raise will help, extra money coming will definitely attract new teachers we have no doubt about that. But right now, we aren’t seeing a big turn,” said Silk.
Last year, the legislature passed a law allowing the district to use an emergency certified teacher for two years. So far this year, 282 of those emergency certifications are renewals.