School Funding

Federally-funded program completes first semester at OKCPS


This fall marks the first semester of a federally funded program to get people into education.

Students are required by the state to complete a minimum of 12 weeks of instruction to earn a Traditional Teaching Certificate in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Education Association president Katherine Bishop said this was just one of the many burdens educators face when entering the field.

“Our teacher preparation programs are essential for educators entering the classroom,” Bishop said.

During this time, the students are not paid.

“For so many of our educators who come into the classroom, have to go through this semester and teach all the students, there’s no way to have this job and another,” Bishop said. “It alleviates the barrier of having to provide for your family.”

The State Department of Education has partnered with state regents for higher education to use $ 12.75 million in federal funding for student teacher allocations.

The program will provide up to $ 3,250 to approximately 1,300 qualified student teachers. Prospective teachers will be paid $ 1,625 at the start of their practicum, and the final payment of $ 1,625 will be paid by the school district in the state that hires the new teacher.

The three-year program was announced in August.

Acting Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, Dr. Bryan Duke, said some student teachers who received the stipend provided positive feedback about the program.

“Many have told us that this is a game changer for them. Teaching students and completing a teacher preparation program can get very expensive, ”said Duke.

The program comes as education officials seek ways to recruit and retain teachers in Oklahoma amid a severe teacher shortage.

“It’s something that we’ve known for a while, that there was a shortage, but we’re really at crisis level and have been for a few years,” Duke said. “The pandemic has really made things more difficult for teachers. ”

To be eligible, student teachers must seek a degree from an Oklahoma college and be hired by an Oklahoma school district.

“We have so many wonderful teachers, but we’ll lose them if we don’t find a way to keep this rewarding profession,” said Duke.