NORMAN — A published report this past week raised the issue of teacher shortages in Oklahoma public schools. Fewer college students are choosing to become teachers, and so districts are having to go outside the state to look for employees.
It’s no surprise that there are shortages in special education positions as well as math and science instructors. Oklahoma’s rankings are partly to blame.
The state ranks No. 48 nationally in teacher pay at $44,343 and No. 45 in per-pupil spending.
Starting salaries are lower and some districts choose to pay more than the state average. The national average is $55,623.
But the profession has taken a beating at the hands of legislators and some statewide elected officials.
Teachers want fair salaries, but they also want respect from the public. When lawmakers routinely blame teachers for much of what’s wrong with society, it’s an easy leap for parents to do the same.