Delay In Certification Processing Leaves Oklahoma Teachers In A Lurch

Monday, July 19th 2021, 6:01 pm


Teachers looking to get certified to teach in Oklahoma are experiencing some delays in the process.

Teachers have to take tests and submit an application to the state Department of Education to get certified. 

According to OSDE spokespeople, teachers can start on the first day of class, but that doesn’t mean they will be paid their full wage. 

If their application isn’t processed before the first day of school, the district can choose to pay them as a substitute until their certification is finalized. 

News 9 spoke with one teacher who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution by her district. 

“Working for [substitute] pay means that I have to decide whether or not I have food or gas in my car. Or whether I have adequate supplies for my classroom that make my classroom a haven for my students and not just four walls with desks,” she said. 

When she starts teaching in early August, this teacher will be paid about $60 a day as substitute teacher.

She would be paid about $260 a day as a certified teacher. 

“We need guidance, from the state, from our superintendents, so that our districts, all over the state, know how to go about this,” she said. 

When she submitted her application with test results that came in on July 9, she was told by the state Department of Education that she won’t be certified until early October. 

In a statement, department spokespeople said: 

“We're doing everything possible to make sure teachers and schools will not be penalized for the delays as long as all required application materials have been submitted.”

At this point, this educator will be waiting between 8 to 10 weeks for applications to be processed. 

OSDE said their office has hired additional help to process applications. 

This all comes as Oklahoma struggles with a teacher shortage -- relying on emergency certifications of teachers to fill in the gaps. 

The delays are affecting many different teachers trying to get certified, but the state said there really isn’t a way to know just how many will not be paid in full at the beginning of the year. 

The delays do not affect teachers who are emergency certified. Their wait time is typically four weeks.