Hofmeister Applauds Governor’s Approval of Bills Addressing Teacher Shortage


OKLAHOMA CITY (May 31, 2016) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today praised legislators for passing and Gov. Mary Fallin for signing a total of 7 bills that emerged from the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s (OSDE) Teacher Shortage Task Force.
 
Created in September 2015 at Hofmeister’s direction, the task force was charged with addressing Oklahoma’s unprecedented teacher shortage.
 
“These bills are a positive first step toward remedying the growing teacher shortage in Oklahoma’s public school system,” said Hofmeister. “The innovative, cost-effective recommendations proposed by the Teacher Shortage Task Force will offer much-needed solutions at all levels of teaching statewide. By supporting our teachers with this legislation, we are investing in the future of our schoolchildren when Oklahoma’s budget crisis requires us to do more with less.”
 
In December, the 91-member task force presented a slate of 29 recommendations to the State Board of Education, only a few of which necessitated legislation. The bills signed into law this session include removing barriers for entrance into the classroom and increasing the hour limit per semester for adjunct teachers, among other strategies to help stem the crisis.
 
The task force – which consists of educators, parents, legislators and leaders of colleges of education, school districts, schools, communities and business – remains active and plans to make further recommendations to the State Board of Education. A detailed final report, including a summary of the implemented strategies’ effectiveness, is expected this fall. The next meeting of the task force is June 6 in Oklahoma City.
 
The Teacher Shortage Task Force bills signed by the governor this legislative session are summarized below. To see the measures in their entirety, click on the bill number.
 
  • HB 2371: Eliminates the requirement that a mentor teacher be employed by the school district and allows a former or retired classroom teacher to volunteer or serve part-time in that role at the discretion of the district. Effective July 1.
  • HB 2946: Eases the ability of the State Board to issue a teaching certificate to a person who has an out-of-state certificate. Also directs the State Board to promulgate rules for reviewing and evaluating an out-of-country teaching certificate and gives the Board authority to award teaching certificates to those applicants. Directs the Board to issue a teaching certificate to a person who has successfully completed a competency exam used in a majority of other states or comparable customized exam. The Board is also directed to accept up to five years of teaching experience from out-of-country accredited schools and U.S. Department of Defense schools for purposes of salary increments and retirement. Effective July 1.
  • HB 2967: Gives district boards of education the authority to enter into contracts with student teachers while they are still student teachers, provided that they cannot teach the next year until completing all certification requirements. Allows districts to commit to payment of a stipend or signing bonus to a student teacher upon entering a contract. Such stipend or bonus is conditional on the person fulfilling the first year of a contract and is not considered compensation for retirement or the minimum salary schedule. Effective July 1.
  • HB 3025: Expands the list of those who qualify to pursue a standard certificate through an alternative placement program to include those who have successfully completed a terminal degree and those who have a bachelor’s degree and qualified work experience corresponding to an area of certification. Requires that candidates have either demonstrated competency or completed a major in a field corresponding to an area of certification as determined by the State Board or as recommended by CareerTech for a vocational-technical certificate. Allows the State Board to determine the number of hours required for the professional education component for each person making application, with a minimum of 6 semester hours and maximum of 18 semester hours. Effective November 1, 2016.
  • HB 3102: Increases the maximum number of clock hours an adjunct teacher may teach. Effective July 1.
  • HB 3114: “Empowering Teachers to Lead Act.” Helps enable districts to pursue a framework of teacher career paths, leadership roles and compensation requirements. The framework defines the responsibilities of a model teacher, mentor teacher and lead teacher with a corresponding salary supplement. Allows OSDE to award planning grants and implementation grants to districts, subject to availability of funds. Effective November 1.
  • SB 1038: Creates a Teacher Certification Scholarship Program under the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA). Directs OEQA to establish eligibility criteria. Limits scholarship to one per teacher candidate. To receive a scholarship, the candidate is required to teach for one year in the state. Establishes a revolving fund for the Legislature to appropriate money to and allows the program to be supported with gifts and donations. Effective Jan. 1, 2017.

 

Last updated on June 2, 2016