New ad campaign targets teacher shortage
Mike Seals - April 13, 2021 10:36 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY (April 13, 2021) – To help address the ongoing teacher shortage, the Oklahoma State Department of Education has partnered with the national nonprofit TEACH to launch a new PSA to celebrates current teachers and inspire others to become teachers. “The Future Depends on Teachers” was developed to elevate the teaching profession and address a teacher shortage that has worsened amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must spotlight our educators and provide more opportunities for talented individuals to join the noblest profession,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Despite the challenges that teaching in the time of COVID-19 has thrust upon them, teachers are innovating and rising to meet this new reality head-on. They are critical to developing the next generation of leaders.”
Oklahoma has made gains in recruiting and retaining PK-12 teachers in its workforce. The number of teachers for the 2020-21 school year is 2% higher than in 2012-13. However, the pandemic has dealt a blow to that progress. Oklahoma lost about 600 teachers since last school year, the largest year-over-year drop since 2016-17.
Hofmeister created Oklahoma’s Teacher Shortage Task Force in 2015 to tackle the growing crisis.
“Over the past six years, Oklahoma has removed many of the roadblocks to becoming a teacher, including needless bureaucratic red tape,” Hofmeister said. “Our investment in teacher recruitment is paying off with access to college coursework available through partnerships with higher education, moreover, the development of our virtual learning community is helping current teachers more readily meet required annual professional growth goals.”
Over the years, the Teacher Shortage Task Force has made over 40 recommendations for multiple solutions to the crisis, many of which have been implemented, including the pursuit of grants, teacher externships, professional development opportunities, supports for emergency-certified teachers and a survey of 32,000 teachers who hold active certification but are no longer in the classroom. Hofmeister’s Educator Quality & Diversity Advisory group now continues the work of the task force, examining how to further recruit and retain teachers.
“The Future Depends on Teachers” will air on TV and radio and was produced by TEACH, a nonprofit organization founded by the U.S. Department of Education. Viewers who visit TEACH.org will be automatically directed to a page about teaching in Oklahoma with information about certification, teacher prep programs, and what it’s like to teach in Oklahoma.