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Chicken-Fried News: Exigent educators




What is the fastest growing profession in Oklahoma? We’re not sure if it’s official, but it just might be emergency certified teachers.

Oklahoma has set yet another record in education. As usual, we at Chicken-Fried News are dubious about the “achievement.”

The Oklahoma Board of Education has approved 1,429 emergency teaching certificates so far this year. That’s already 269 more than the entirety of last year.

Aug. 24, reported that emergency certifications, while rarely used in the past, have become the norm in the last four years.

Educators and administrators know that issuing emergency certifications to untrained applicants isn’t by any means an ideal situation but are at a loss when it comes to fixing what seems to be a growing problem.

“Even if they perhaps have certification in another field ... they are walking in the door without the training or experience to be able to meet the needs of kids on day one,” Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said at a school board meeting Aug. 24. “Even if you have 20 years of experience as a Boeing engineer ... dealing with children who have special needs, who have experienced a life of trauma, requires a skill set that requires training.”

Oklahoma State School Boards Association recently released the results of a survey showing 536 vacancies in the state, and reported that schools around the state are seeing little, if any, response to job postings.

Funding cuts, low pay, lack of classroom resources and other factors have added to the stresses of filling the vacant positions.

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