OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that could significantly lower the need for emergency certified teachers in public elementary schools and early childhood education programs passed unanimously in the House on Thursday with a vote of 86-0.
House Bill 2748, by Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, would allow a teacher candidate that holds a doctorate, a master’s or a bachelor’s degree to teach for two years while completing required coursework and participating in a mentor program provided by the school district prior to taking state certification exams.
"School administrators statewide have told lawmakers of challenges to find certified teachers in our earliest grades where learning the basics is of critical importance," Baker said. "This measure allows them to employee degreed candidates who are well on their way to earning a traditional teaching certificate. This is better for our students and our schools."
Baker said the measure was agreed upon by the state Department of Education, Oklahoma Teacher Preparation, Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration and the Oklahoma Educators Association.
Now that the bill has passed the House, it advances to the state Senate.