Wednesday, October 5, 2016
So cuts in Oklahoma's education funding NOT the cause of teacher shortage?
Ben Felder, an investigative reporter for the Oklahoman, released an article yesterday lamenting the state's shortage of qualified teachers. The Oklahoma legislature has approved 926 "emergency teacher certificates" this year. These "emergency and alternative certified" educators might not have the proper training to handle school children.
But Felder's article leaves out one glowing fact, obvious in its absence: The Oklahoma government has continually cut the budget for education. This is the real reason teachers are leaving the state in droves. Nobody can afford to live on a teacher's salary. Sure, the cost of living is lower in Oklahoma than other states, but when you make little money, it is impossible.
Laurence Baines, associate dean for graduate studies and research at OU's college of education, relates a scary story. He met a former used car salesman, teaching science at an Oklahoma high school, who smelled of beer. The "teacher" only had six hours of science as part of his general ed requirements in college.
Baines also fears that emergency certified personnel might have only a 1.0 GPA, be alcoholic, or addicted to porn and still be hired to teach English.
Gee! How ever can the state avoid such catastrophes? I know! Let's pray for the oilfields on October 13th! The price of oil will go up, Oklahoma can get out of the economic cesspool it's in, and then they can give more money to education. Maybe.