Oklahoma Educators Weigh in on Bills Moving Forward

Fox 25 - April 18, 2022 8:49 am

A dozen education bills are moving forward this week after last Thursday’s legislative deadline.

As school districts work to recruit teachers, lawmakers are doing their part to incentivize educators to stay in Oklahoma.

Katherine Bishop, the President of the Oklahoma Education Association, said with a teacher crisis on our hands, the main focus should be legislation that can recruit and retain educators.

“What we need to be looking for is long-term solutions, sustainable solutions, where we can have reoccurring funding that’s going into our education system,” Bishop said.

Bishop said the bills moving forward aren’t the end all be all to solving the issue, but a few are steps in the right direction.

HB3374 awards grant money to school districts to create pilot programs for community schools.

“That would bring much-needed coordinated services for our schools and bring in community partners together, but it’s about finding out what families and students need, and how do we connect that all together with resources,” Bishop said.

Another bill that has an “A+” from educators is HB3564, which creates a state future scholarship program to incentivize high school students to enter the profession.

Lawmakers are looking across the aisle for different avenues to promote education in Oklahoma.

At the same time, teachers have been filling the halls of the Capitol sharing their stories.

Bishop said the solution to the crisis all comes down to respect.

“We need to be lifting up our educators,” Bishop said. “We need to be lifting up our students that are currently in high school and encouraging them to become educators. That’s what we need to be doing.”

Bishop said there’s also a few bills she’s disappointed to see left on the table after the deadline.

Some of the bills dealt with mental health resources for teachers and students.

 

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