The necessity to fill teacher positions has led to state boards of education granting large numbers of emergency certificates to fill teacher shortages.
In Oklahoma, the State Board has approved 503 emergency teaching certificates, a record number. Emergency certificates allow applicants who have not completed basic college and training requirements to enter the classroom. Previously, the board had approved 182 emergency certificates.
“In this one month alone, we are putting before you the sum total of the year total for emergency certification last year,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “As we know, we are 1,000 teachers short — not counting, in addition to these that we are emergency certifying today.”
Some board members are urging the Department of Education to offer support training and courses to new teachers on emergency certificates, such as classroom management classes and other opportunities.
“I worry, especially in the lower school levels, if school districts are really desperate in trying to get teachers in and they haven’t been able to go through any kind of class whatsoever and nothing is offered; I worry about that,” said board member Bill Price.