Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 21, 2015
Sen. Ron Sharp
Measure to allow qualified out-of-state
teachers into classrooms signed
Gov. Fallin recently signed into law a measure
to address Oklahoma’s historic teacher shortage. On Monday,
Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced
that the state still has around 1,000 vacant classroom positions
this school year, and at least 500 others being filled by people
who received emergency teaching certification.
Senate Bill 20, by Sen. Ron
Sharp and Rep. Katie Henke, would allow the State School Board
of Education to issue teaching certificates to anyone who holds
a valid out-of-state certificate and who meets the requirements
to be considered highly qualified.
“The last few years, the legislature and governor have been
focused on improving education. However, if you don’t have
highly-qualified teachers in the classroom, the students aren’t
going to get the best education possible; and they’re going
to get an even worse education, if schools have empty teaching positions
that they’re forced to combine with other classes,”
said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “Every teaching position must be filled
and we need to strive to fill them with the best teachers possible.
I want to thank my colleagues for helping get this important piece
of legislation to the governor and for her support as well.”
The teaching certificate would only be issued for those subject
areas and grade levels most closely aligned to the subject areas
and grade levels recognized on the out-of-state certificate.
Also under SB 20, anyone who has a qualifying out-of-state teaching
certificate who has five years of successful teaching experience
as a certified teacher in an accredited school would not be required
to take any additional competency, subject area or other applicable
exams or be required to pay any additional fees for certification.
“Our public schools are struggling to find qualified teachers
and fill empty positions,” said Sharp. “In essence,
these out-of-state educators are doing our state a favor by coming
here to teach so we should not burden them to pay for and retake
the same expensive tests that they’ve already passed once.
If they have the credentials and are highly-qualified, certified
teachers, we need to make it as easy as possible for them to teach
in our schools.”
Those with valid out-of-state teaching certificates must have on
file with the state Board of Education both a current Oklahoma and
national criminal history record check. Once the Board receives
the Oklahoma background check, they may issue a temporary certificate
which will be effective until they receive the national fingerprint-based
criminal history record check.
For more information, contact: