Official: State emergency teacher licenses up 54 percent in 2018-19

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/06/2019 10:00 AM
TULSA (AP) – An ongoing teacher shortage led Oklahoma public schools to hire roughly 1,000 more nonaccredited teachers in the most recent school year compared to 2017-2018, and that number is expected to rise, according to state education officials.

State public schools employed 3,038 nonaccredited teachers in 2018-2019, which is 54 percent more than the 1,975 who were hired in the previous school year. The state Board of Education received a recommendation list June 28 to certify another 818 teachers, which included 531 renewals, the Tulsa World reported.

Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, which tracks indicators of the teacher shortage, said there are two takeaways from the numbers.

“First is, we continue to have a teacher-shortage crisis,” Hime said. “The second one is more positive. These numbers from the state Department of Education show that schools hired more than 1,000 new teachers last year. In a few short years, districts have gone from paying in the low 30s (in thousands of dollars) to many paying in the 40s (in thousands of dollars). That’s a huge positive in recruiting.”

A state education report in January found that 30,000 Oklahoma teachers have left the profession in the past six years.

State-issued nonaccredited teaching certificates allow people without a state teaching license to teach in a classroom for two years while they complete training. The vast majority of nonaccredited teachers have degrees and work experience in other professions. Hime said districts that depend on them the most must make extra effort to ensure they succeed.

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