Steep budget cuts over the last decade have made the teaching profession in Oklahoma less attractive, resulting in a severe teacher shortage crisis and negative consequences for our schoolchildren. The loss of 30,000 educators over the past six years is staggering — and proof that our schools must have the resources to support a growing number of students with an increasing number of needs.
Oklahoma’s public school system has suffered one of the largest national budget cuts over the past decade. As a result, steep reductions to school budgets have forced administrators to implement strategies to reduce expenses, many of which critically hinder instruction and unequivocally contribute to making the teaching profession less attractive.One of the most pervasive outcomes of the public sector fiscal austerity has been a persistent educator shortage — more severe in certain geographies, grades or subject matters than others — that in turn prompted undesired measures such as relaxing qualification requirements during hiring and increasing the workload of educators who remain in the classroom. This approach has created a vicious cycle that has widened teacher shortages and had detrimental effects on student achievement.
- Understand the career pathways of teacher preparation program graduates (suggesting they now don’t understand this).
- Measure and monitor educator quality shortage (again, suggesting they don’t now).
- Understand school districts’ shortage difficulties by using current analysis and indicators and adding new data from districts about “priorities, strategies, perceptions and concerns on how to better address the shortages.”
- Examine teacher working conditions because “learning about teachers’ working conditions will foster an understanding of the most pressing issues and promising strategies.”
- Expand recruitment of qualified educators.
- Enhance the mentoring and induction program for new teachers.