Editor, Daily Press:
Upon reading the title of Steve Turner's article, "Emergency certification not pathway to top education; university training is," my first impression was that emergency certification was not the problem, but a symptom of the problem, and toward the middle of the article, the NSU president identifies it as such.
He rightly states that most teachers who enter classrooms through emergency certification do not have sufficient pedagogical skills. In his article, President Turner does not indicate exactly what the problem is.
Why are teachers not becoming certified through college? An old religious adage states, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." Oklahoma continually ranks toward the bottom as far as public school spending, graduation rate, and student performance. In the 2017-2018 school year, Oklahoma spent less on teacher salary than every other state in the country, other than West Virginia. Why would young people go through a four-year college program and incur student debt for a job that does not pay much more than a job that you can get without an education?
If we seek to know what Oklahoma values, let's look at its budget. We need more teachers in Oklahoma, and there are two ways to encourage the number of teacher applications: by raising teacher salaries, or by lowering teacher standards. The emergency teacher process shows that Oklahoma has chosen the latter approach. If we truly value education, we need to vote in state representatives who will allocate more money for teacher salaries.