State Superintendent Ryan Walters Doubles Down On Vow To Revamp Oklahoma Schools

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters said his department has been successful despite facing criticism for recent clawbacks of teacher signing bonuses.

Tuesday, February 6th 2024, 10:28 am

By: News 9


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Amidst controversy regarding clawbacks of teacher signing bonuses, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters said his department is working to make schools in the state more successful.

In an interview with News 9, Walters said his department is continuing to work with teachers who have been affected by these clawbacks.

"We recruited over 500 teachers in the State of Oklahoma... the biggest signing bonus in the country," Walters said. "We had some of the media that wanted to hyper focus on four individuals. They lied, they said there were dozens of these individuals, there wasn't, there were four that put inappropriate or inaccurate information on their applications."

When asked about his previous statements on the media's coverage of the teacher recruitment program, and subsequent clawbacks, Walters said the facts are not debated by anyone except for "some of the media," and that the program is still a success despite the criticism.

"We've worked with those four individuals to say 'we want you to stay in the classroom, but we're also going to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,'" Walters said. "This information is incorrect on the contract, this is a contract with the state of Oklahoma [and] there are repercussions."

Walters also said he continues to express his willingness to work with teachers who may be affected by the clawbacks, and praised his department's work in other areas.

"We are very proud of the work we've been doing, and we're gonna get Oklahoma schools back on track," Walters said. "We're gonna put parents back in their rightful place as the one in charge of their kids education. We have school choice, we're launching the biggest tutoring program in state history, we have a huge turnaround going on in Tulsa Public Schools right now, so I'm very proud of our efforts."

These moves, Walters said, in addition to signing bonuses, will help give teaches the "biggest salaries in state history."

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