PROPOSED SENATE BILL WOULD PAY FOR VETERANS’ SCHOOLING TO BECOME TEACHERS IN OKLAHOMA

News 9 - January 2, 2024 6:15 am

A new bill introduced at the capitol is aimed at creating a teacher pipeline for veterans across the country. Senate Bill 1311 would create the Veterans Entering Teaching (VET) Act and pay for veterans’ schooling to become educators if they agreed to teach in the state for three consecutive years.

The lawmaker behind the bill, Senator Adam Pugh, said he’s hoping this will allow American heroes to guide Oklahoma’s next generation.

“Every state has a teacher shortage right now, so try to be innovative and be unique and capture the attention of highly qualified people,” said Sen. Adam Pugh, (R) Edmond.

Sen. Pugh says this is the first program of its kind and fosters his goal of making Oklahoma a top state for veterans.

“This bill seeks to combine all of those aspects and solve a really pressing issue for the state of Oklahoma, which is filling out classrooms with highly qualified men and women,” said Sen. Pugh.

Sen. Pugh says every year around 200,000 veterans transition from military to civilian life.

“A lot of them are looking for a purpose, sometimes that transition can be filled with a lot of trepidation, and it can be scary when you’re entering a brand-new career field,” said Sen. Pugh.

A veteran himself, he says it’s a transition he’s very familiar with.

“In fact, I went through that transition myself, almost 15 years ago so I know what a lot of those men and women who have put the uniform on are feeling as they think about what they’re going to do in the next phase of their career,” said Sen. Pugh.

The legislation would pay for tuition at an Oklahoma college in exchange for at least three years of teaching in an Oklahoma classroom.

“This unique opportunity allows them to transition to a new career field and then we gain the benefit of their service inside the classroom,” said Sen. Pugh.

Pugh is also hoping this brings in veterans from across the country.

“Make this a national issue and highlight those men and women and the skillsets they have, but use this as an economic development tool as well to maybe recruit men and women who weren’t considering Oklahoma otherwise,” said Sen. Pugh. “This would ask them to serve three years inside a classroom – but my hope is we capture those men and women for a lifetime,” said Sen. Pugh.

The bill will be presented when the session starts in February.

 

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