No indication pay raises significantly affecting Oklahoma’s chronic teacher shortage yet

Aug 12, 2018 by

Local school leaders say Oklahoma’s chronic teacher shortage shows no signs of easing even as new state-funded teacher raises take effect.

Teacher turnover appears to have slackened for some Tulsa-area school districts but ticked up at others, and the state of Oklahoma is on pace to eclipse last year’s record for emergency certified teachers.

While officials are optimistic about what effect the raises could have, they are still warily eyeing the future, wondering if higher pay will encourage enough people to enter the teaching profession in time to replace “a storm” of retirements.

“The concern for HR directors, not really a question, is looking down the road. Looking at our universities at how many majors we have going into education, it gets a little alarming for us — three years, four years and five years from now,” said Rusty Stecker, head of human resources at Broken Arrow Public Schools.

Non-accredited applicants

One of the greatest indicators of the statewide teacher shortage is school districts’ growing reliance on new hires who have not yet completed the state’s requirements for either a traditional or alternative certification.

In the first two months of the new fiscal year, the Oklahoma State Board of Education has already approved 1,237 emergency certifications. By comparison, 1,975 were approved in all of fiscal year 2018.

And many more are coming in the months ahead.

Steffie Corcoran, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said the batch of new applicants being processed for approval later in August is on par with August 2017’s group of 574, and there are still a few days remaining for districts to submit additional applications.

No indication pay raises significantly affecting Oklahoma’s chronic teacher shortage yet | Education |

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