Alarming Number of Oklahoma Teachers Left in Past Years

By Michael Dekker

A new report released by the state shows 30,000 Oklahoma teachers have left the profession in the past six years.

“The loss of 30,000 educators over the past six years is staggering — and proof that our schools must have the resources to support a growing number of students with an increasing number of needs,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said in a news release issued Tuesday about the report.

“Steep budget cuts over the last decade have made the teaching profession in Oklahoma less attractive, resulting in a severe teacher shortage crisis and negative consequences for our schoolchildren,” she said.

The 2018 Oklahoma Educator Supply & Demand Report indicates that the percentage of Oklahoma educators leaving the profession has increased over the past six years, representing more than 5,000 per year, a total of approximately 30,000.

The exodus represents an average of 10 percent of Oklahoma’s teacher workforce, in comparison to a national attrition rate of 7.7 percent, the state Department of Education said in a news release.

However, the figure does not include new teacher hires, which ranged from 7.8 percent to 10.2 percent between 2012-13 and 2017-18, according to the report.

The 124-page report “seeks to explain the state’s persistent teacher shortage while offering recommendations on how to stem the crisis. State law requires that the report is updated every three years,” the department said.

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