Oklahoma has experienced tremendous public school enrollment growth since the early 1990s.
Growth in Student Needs
As Oklahoma’s student population has grown, so have the needs of students and the necessity of schools to adapt to meet these needs.
National Center for Education Statistics, 1992-2014 *ELL data available since 1998
Oklahoma’s neighboring states invest substantially more in common education on a per-student basis. Oklahoma would have to invest nearly $1.3 billion more annually to reach the regional average per-student spending.
Education Investment Gap
Source: National Education Association, April 2019
The average includes only classroom teachers and health insurance.
Emergency Teaching Certificates
Source: State Board of Education meeting agendas
*Through July 2019
Teacher Shortage Facts
- Districts reported 536 teaching vacancies as of Aug. 1, 2018.
- Districts have eliminated 480 teaching positions since last school year.
- The state Board of Education has issued a record number of emergency teaching certificates this year.
- Special education, elementary, high school science, high school math and middle school math are the most difficult teaching positions to fill.
- 11 out of every 100 Oklahoma teachers leave the state or the profession every year.
- 17% of new teachers in Oklahoma leave the state or the profession after their first year.
- 10% of Oklahoma teachers with a decade of experience leave the state or profession every year.
- Oklahoma is replacing experienced teachers who leave with teachers who are far less experienced.
- Between 2005-2006 and 2013-2014, Oklahoma had a 24 percent decline in the number of students completing teacher preparation programs. Research has projected that it will further decline 22 percent between 2013-14 and 2018-19. (Student enrollment is projected to continue increasing).
- Oklahoma is not producing enough foreign language, math or science teachers to replace those who are leaving.
- The projected demand for teachers in Oklahoma will continue to outpace the supply.
- Oklahoma has significant competition from the private sector and from surrounding states.
- A high percentage of out-of-state students (76%) who completed teacher preparation programs in Oklahoma in recent years never worked in Oklahoma’s public schools.
- Oklahoma’s special education student-to-teacher ratio is almost 23:1.
Sources: OSSBA, State Department of Education. An Empirical Analysis of Teacher Salaries and Labor Market Outcomes in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education