The state Board of Education approved 916 emergency certificates at Thursday’s board meeting, bringing the 2018-19 school year total to 2,153, surpassing the yearly state record for nontraditionally trained teachers in Oklahoma classrooms.
“We are now experiencing the full weight” of a teacher shortage, said Joy Hofmeister, the state’s superintendent of public instruction.
When districts are unable to fill a teacher position with a certified candidate, an individual can be granted a two-year emergency certificate if he or she can pass a test in the subject area to be taught and can pass a criminal background check.
Though once rarely used, the approval of emergency teaching certificates has become a routine action by state board members in recent years.
In 2012, just 32 emergency certified teachers were hired across Oklahoma.