Gov Stitt Issues Executive Order On Oklahoma Teacher Shortage
If you weren't aware, the teacher shortage in Oklahoma has hit hard across the state. Not only are teachers retiring amid the ongoing pandemic, but others are also still leaving to higher-paying states like Texas.
Worse, there is a serious lack of qualified teachers stacked up to replace those that we are losing.
As if that weren't bad enough, several Oklahoma colleges and universities have ended their teacher and support staff training programs due to a lack of enrollment.
Let that sink in... Not only are teachers unwilling to settle for what Oklahoma is willing to pay, but it's also at the point the education system can't even attract people to the industry in Oklahoma.
Today, January 18th, Governor Stitt is set to issue an executive order concerning the teacher shortage around the state.
In recent weeks, this teacher shortage has meant closing schools as these schools just don't have enough staff to fill in for those who are out with and included in Oklahoma's record number of Covid-19 cases. From Governor Stitt's opening line, this is the topic of today's announcement.
When it was announced that schools would be closing due to staff shortages amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the governor and Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters publicly shamed the public school systems for their decision to close.
Secretary Walters argument for schools to remain open as usual was an opinion that virtual learning isn't as effective as in-person learning. You can't deny that this is both true and false for some students, depending on how each individual learns.
If you didn't know, distance or virtual learning isn't something new to the Oklahoma education system. I think I was just graduating in 2001 when classes were made available online for Oklahoma GED program, and earlier primary programs, including high school online options followed thereafter with praise from everyone involved.
Not to mention how much praise the virtual learning program was given when classes were first forced online in the earlier days of the pandemic... a fact our politicians hate being reminded of since they've since taken a different stance.
The "solve" the governor's office has come up with is the Oklahoma Guest Educator Program. Political and fluff jargon set aside, it's a good old fashion emergency substitute teacher drive to keep students in classes.
If you'd like to become a "Guest Educator" in your community, you're encouraged to visit OKGuestEducator.com to get the process started. As expected and at a bare minimum, background checks and a crash course in how to substitute teach will be provided, and eventually, when clearance is met, a new stable of substitute teachers will be available in time to fill gaps in staffing as needed.