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Oklahoma looks to change guidelines while breaking records for emergency certifications

Emergency certifications spike statewide
Posted at 3:00 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 18:09:30-04

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma certified 1,666 teachers just in the last month. That compares to 3,038 for all of last year.

"The emergency certification numbers are disturbing, they've been going up for years. I think until we see those numbers going back down we've got problems," said JJ Burnam with the Tulsa Parent Legislative Action Committee.

Now the State Department of Education is releasing new guidelines to start next year. Those teaching elementary school will need a college degree, volunteer, or work experience in child development or completion of an Oklahoma Subject Area Test before certification.

"No matter where a kid is or where they come from... those early years are indeed foundational. I think you've got to build up the reading skills and the math skills because it all builds year after year," Burnam said.

Teachers who went through the Tulsa Teacher Corps tell 2 Works for You TPS is working to provide stronger training for those getting an emergency certification.

"We were teaching summer school in the morning and then learning how to be better teachers in the afternoon. Then my first year teaching I had multiple mentors and teacher coaches helping me," Mollie Howell said.

Burnam said he hopes new guidelines will change the culture of education.

"I think we need to restore dignity and respect to the teaching profession and make sure that teachers... whether they're here in Oklahoma or they're somewhere else... see Oklahoma as a place where teaching is valued and respected," he said.

Those who went through the Tulsa Teacher Corps have a bachelor's degree and will continue to test and work with mentors throughout the year.

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