By Justin Dougherty
News 9's Justin Dougherty sat down with State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to discuss the state's teacher shortage.
The department of education reports the state finished last school year with over 500 emergency certified teachers. Heading into this year, the state has already issued close to half that number. Hofmeister calls that a crisis.
Many blame the situation on teacher salary. Right now, Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation in average teacher pay. Compared to states in our region, we are nearly $5,000 shy of the average.
Both factors also likely played a part into why the state ended last year around 1,000 teachers short. Hofmeister knows pay is the necessary first step.
“I believe there's great interest in solving this. Having increased, competitive regional pay is going to be part of that. It's not the whole story on what it's going to take to actually change moral and solve the teacher shortage, but I think it is an important first step,” said Hofmeister.
The next step, Hofmeister says, has to do with all the state's mandated test.