June 2, 2015

Report: Experienced Teachers Needed in Oklahoma Classrooms

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Nate Robson

Nate Robson

EDUCATION WATCH BLOG
June 2, 2015

Oklahoma City, Tulsa and the surrounding metros have some of the most inexperienced public school teachers in the state, according to a report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education Monday.

The report, written by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, found that districts with large populations of minority or poor students tend to have the least experienced teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education last year required each state to submit a report by Monday detailing how they will ensure all schools have access to experienced, qualified teachers – especially in districts with large populations of minority students, or students living in poverty.

Oklahoma’s data shows that the state’s most diverse, and poorest districts struggle the most to get experienced teachers in the classroom.

First-Year Teachers

Many of Oklahoma's largest districts, which often have high rates of poverty or large number of minority students, have higher percentages of first-year teachers than other districts across the state.
DistrictNew TeachersAll TeachersPercent
State Average----6.7
Oklahoma City4252,89714.7
Tulsa3172,65411.9
Putnam City1521,25912.1
Edmond1021,4337.1
Norman919909.2
Broken Arrow861,1037.8
Union828959.2
Lawton819708.4
Midwest City-Del City738828.3
Mustang646649.6
Moore511,2664.0

Teachers With Less Than Three Years Experience

Oklahoma's largest school districts also have high percentages of inexperienced teachers, or teachers with less than three years of experience. Those same districts also have large numbers of minority students, or students living in poverty.
DistrictInexperienced TeachersTotal TeachersPercent
State Average----21.6
Oklahoma City1,0362,89735.8
Tulsa7912,65429.8
Putnam City4241,25933.7
Edmond3261,43322.7
Norman26899027.1
Union25789528.7
Broken Arrow2511,10322.8
Moore2381,26618.8
Lawton20997021.5
Midwest City-Del City20088222.7
Mustang17864427.6

Oklahoma plans to provide better training, more mentoring and focus on better retention of teachers and principals in order to improve the number of experienced teachers in the classroom.

The state also wants to implement training for experienced teachers who will mentor younger peers.

The report said the state intends to increase the number of experienced teachers working in minority or high-poverty districts by 25 percent by 2018.

In addition to better training after, the report said more needs to be done to help teachers feel valued.

“Teaching is one of the most important career paths in our society,” the report said. “Yet, compared to other professional occupations, public education in Oklahoma is not valued. It is important to the future of our state that we change this perception.”

  • Willetta Burks

    I’m a former employee and long time volunteer/advocate for families in the McLain Feeder pattern in Tulsa. We have had 4 new principals in the last 4 years. In two years, the last two have dismantled all the significant progress made in the previous 3 years. It is a vicious cycle of failed programs and lack of leadership from the District.