teachers

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the decision by lawmakers to end the legislative session two weeks early, Governor Stitt vetoes a bill on rural broadband and lawmakers pass a bill giving a Cost of Living Adjustment for State Retirees.

The trio also discusses a constitutional challenge to the new law requiring notarization of absentee ballots and remembering Oklahoma City Republican Senator Brooks Douglass.

Stillwater Police

Alberto Morejon, a leader of the 2018 state teacher walkout, was arrested Tuesday for making lewd proposals to a minor.

The social studies teacher from Stillwater was arrested for sending sexual messages to a former student. No other details have been released.

Because of a legislative session shortened by COVID-19, only a handful of education policy bills moved through the House and Senate to make it to the governor’s desk.

Time constraints meant only the bills most important to lawmakers could make it to Gov. Kevin Stitt.

So a hodgepodge of priority education legislation is currently being considered by the governor.

If signed by the governor, they would tweak virtual charter school rules, combat the teacher shortage and take other narrow measures.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is considering legislation to give raises to state retirees for the first time in 12 years.

The measure to give Cost of Living Adjustments to firefighters, law enforcement and teachers passed the Senate as one of the last bills before the legislative session ended on Friday.

The bill’s author, Senator Roger Thompson, says the retiree systems are well-funded even though the hit to the programs will be a 1.5 to 1.8 percent increase.

Though it’s unclear what school will look like, recent graduates and others will be able to teach in Oklahoma in fall 2020.

The state school board voted to unanimously allow a one-time, single year certification for people who were on track to get their certification. Typical certification procedures were halted because teaching candidates couldn’t finish student teaching or take some final required tests.

Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

With Oklahoma's state budget facing billions of dollars in shortfalls over the next two years, education cuts are likely.

Governor Kevin Stitt said Monday that if the state's education system is held harmless, it will exacerbate cuts for other agencies statewide. So, lawmakers will have to yet again look at slashing education budgets.

Cuts have long plagued the state's education system, which still hasn't returned to pre-2008 recession funding.

Teach for America

The more than 200 Teach for America Corps members working throughout Oklahoma are continuing to work with their students wherever possible.

When Oklahoma shifted to distance learning only on April 6, they made the move with the rest of the state. In an interview with StateImpact, Teach for America’s regional Executive Directors in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Art Serna and Leslie Daugherty, said the program’s teachers are working hard.

Courtesy Tiffany Ballard

Oklahoma schools are conducting a giant experiment. Forced by COVID-19, they’re doing distance learning and trying to support students’ emotional needs from afar. But, that instruction is often being delivered without the technology that could make it more productive.

Metropolitan Library System Special Collections

In a vote to close Oklahoma’s schools earlier this month, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister called the decision “historic.”

And it was an unprecedented action. In order to find a time of mass school closures statewide, you’d have to go back more than 100 years. 

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmakers want to turn the tide on a statewide teacher shortage.

Legislators have filed a flurry of bills to take up when they re-convene in February.

Currently the state has 3,000 emergency certified teachers, educators who are allowed to teach on a temporary basis even though they don’t have all the necessary training. In 2010, there were only 32.

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