OKLAHOMA CITY – Using historical educational and population data, market trends and demand-supply projections, the 2018 Oklahoma Educator Supply & Demand Report indicates that the percentage of Oklahoma educators leaving the profession has increased over the past six years, representing more than 5,000 per year or a total of approximately 30,000. This exodus represents an average of 10 percent of Oklahoma’s teacher workforce, in comparison to a national attrition rate of 7.7 percent.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) recently
released the report, which seeks to explain the state’s persistent teacher
shortage while offering recommendations on how to stem the crisis. State law
requires that the report be updated every three years.
The report includes multiple indicators of teacher shortage,
including teacher-pupil ratios, supply-side trends and the number of
emergency-certified teachers approved by the State Board of Education. So far
in the 2018-19 school year, the latter figure is 2,915 – an all-time high and a
massive increase over the 32 emergency certifications approved in 2012.
Emergency certifications are utilized when a school district has been
unsuccessful in its attempts to fill a vacancy with a certified teacher.
One of the goals outlined in OSDE’s 8-year strategic plan for
education, Oklahoma Edge, is to reduce the need for
emergency-certified teachers by 95 percent.
“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,” said Joy Hofmeister,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “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
“Moreover, we must continue to examine a variety of strategies to
encourage teachers to stay in the classroom and recruit new teachers to a field
that is unparalleled in its potential to impact young lives.”