Emergency Certifications Issued To Ease Oklahoma Teacher Shortage

Friday, July 29th 2016, 7:00 pm

The State Department of Education issued emergency teaching certifications for hundreds of people this week to fill teaching vacancies. 

We know there's a shortage of teachers in Oklahoma. Now we have a better handle on just how bad the crisis really is.

“Last year we had 182 requests for emergency certifications. And this year 304 for the month of July. So, despite the fact that we've had cuts and positions eliminated, there is still a teacher shortage," said State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister.

Hofmeister says people who received the emergency certifications have degrees and experience in the field they're teaching, they just haven't met all the requirements for certification. So why not return some of the teachers that have been laid off in recent months to the classroom? Hofmeister says many of them just aren't around anymore.

"What you might draw from that is that those teachers have left the state. Or they have left the industry.”

One of the problems with drawing and retaining good teachers, Hofmeister says, is the low pay in Oklahoma. The governor is considering calling the legislature back for a special session to use a $141-million surplus for teacher raises.