Public schools will be starting up again in a few weeks, and Oklahoma may be on track to hit another record for the number of emergency-certified teachers in K-12 classrooms.
More than 1,600 emergency-certified teachers have been approved to instruct students at public schools around the state for the 2019-2020 school year. That’s 400 more than this time last year.
Emergency certificates are a temporary solution for schools facing teacher shortages. Schools must demonstrate that they have exhausted every recruitment option to find a qualified person, and the emergency-certified teacher has two years to become officially certified.
State officials hoped pay raises approved last spring would draw more fully trained teachers to the classroom, but the number emergency-certified educators has kept growing and is expected to increase as the year progresses.
Last year, the Oklahoma State Department of Education approved more than 3,000 emergency certifications.