TULSA, Okla. — Staff with Tulsa Public Schools said as teachers leave the field at an alarming rate, they're looking to the state for help.
If House Bill 1990 or Senate Bill 217 pass, the district could create their own certification system.
Bethany Martin is in her first year in a kindergarten classroom after going through the Tulsa Teacher Corps. Her first assignment was educating 27 five-year-olds.
"It's a lot at once. Then you also have to worry about their behavior and 27 different personalities but still teaching," Martin said.
If legislation passes, the teacher corps would expand, creating a three-year program giving those with a bachelor's degree an opportunity to become certified through the district directly. Martin said the change is needed as many often don't complete the emergency certification.
"I know a lot of people that have been teaching for 20 years that are just now leaving, and I also know people who maybe have gone through the Teacher Corps with me this summer and they're like, 'it's just not for me,'" she said. "It's disheartening because our kids in Oklahoma need people who will be dedicated in the long run."
This comes with a 25 percent drop in Oklahoma teacher candidates over the last six years, about 5,000 annually.
"If we're going to win this battle and bring teachers back into Oklahoma, it's going to take a strategy where we're working together across sectors to really put forward a full-faith approach that will bring people back in and support them once they're here," TPS chief talent and academic officer Devin Fletcher said.
Those against expanding the teacher corps said students are not being taught by those with adequate qualifications and experience. They tell 2 Works for You without trained educators, they fear students won't succeed.
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