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Oklahoma emergency teacher certificates surpass 2,500

September 28, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Board of Education is approving hundreds of emergency teacher certificates as schools across the state struggle with a teacher shortage.

The board approved more than 400 certificates Thursday to school districts that lack qualified candidates to fill vacancies, The Oklahoman reported . The certificates allow people without a state teaching license to teach in a classroom for two years while they complete training.

Requests included 30 certificates for Tulsa Public Schools and 23 for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Moore, Western Heights, Midwest City-Del City, Putnam City, Norman, Yukon and Mustang districts also requested emergency certificates.

About 13 percent of teachers in the Oklahoma City district, or 328, have emergency certificates. The board has approved more than 2,500 certificates since June, up from 590 certificates issued over the previous year.

“We continue to feel the full brunt of the teacher shortage,” state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said. “Districts still have certified positions open without qualified applicants to fill them.

Two-thirds of school districts that responded to an August survey by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association said that they anticipated needing emergency certified teachers to fill vacancies. The survey found nearly 500 teaching vacancies across the state.

“We are grateful to those who have stepped in when others have stepped out of the profession, but this is our harsh reality: We need to make teaching more attractive by providing training, support and the tools necessary to succeed in Oklahoma classrooms,” Hofmeister said.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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