KGOU

emergency teacher certifications

Monta Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Adams Elementary School, passes out books to her class in Oklahoma City on August 3, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

As the new school year gets underway, Oklahoma’s teacher shortage persists. The state is on track to set a new record for the number of emergency certified teachers in K-12 classrooms. 

Students enter Lexington Elementary School on April 13 after the school was closed for nine school days during the teacher walkout.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

The latest counts of emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma capture a stubborn reality: Classrooms across the state are being staffed by a teacher who isn’t fully trained or prepared.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education is set to approve a record-breaking number of emergency teaching certifications at its meeting Thursday, a strong indication a statewide teacher shortage is still growing.

elementary school library
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Reducing schools’ use of emergency certified teachers by 95 percent and boosting high school graduation to 90 percent are some of the goals set by the state Education Department in its plan for education under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The state also proposes attacking hunger in schools and is considering forcing failing schools that are on a four-day school week to change their calendar.

Lindsay Judd will be one of hundreds of emergency certified teachers taking the helm of Oklahoma classrooms this year.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools are becoming more and more reliant on teachers with no training.

A lack of school funding, low pay, and waning morale have driven many of the experienced teachers out of the classroom, or out of the state.

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Ahead of the 2017-2018 school year, the state school board has approved more emergency teacher certifications.

 

 

Emergency certifications

 

The board approved 224 emergency positions at its June meeting, compared to 77 requested at the same meeting one year ago. Over the course of the 2016-2017 school year more than 1,000 emergency certificates were approved.