Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to education funding. Our teachers are underpaid and leaving the state in droves. Too much money fails to reach the classrooms and some school districts have resorted to four-day school weeks. Our leaders are failing our students, our families, and jeopardizing our future. Enough is enough. I will prioritize students and funding for the classroom and invest in the teachers that make a difference every day. It’s time to restore respect to teachers! Click here to read our Top Ten plan in education or read a few highlights below:
- Raise teacher pay so that it matches the pay of teachers in our six-state footprint. With 95 percent of Oklahoma children attending public schools, we must ensure those on the front lines of teaching our children receive the support they need to succeed.
- Review ways to empower local communities to best fund the needs of their local schools. I love what we are seeing in Western Oklahoma where energy development is taking schools off the state funding formula and allowing for higher teacher pay. But we still have many counties without these commodities. I like the policy proposed by a conservative group of House legislators to give schools the flexibility to use part of their current property tax revenue on teacher pay instead of being restricted to buildings and infrastructure.
- Expand the use of video technology to deliver AP classes across our state, especially in rural areas where we have bright, hardworking youth but not enough certified teachers. Our farmers and ranchers should not be faced with putting their children on a bus for more than an hour just to access quality education opportunities. Technology must play a stronger role in how we look to the future of delivering our state’s basic, vital public services.
- Recruit, train and retain great teachers. In a Stitt administration, I will call for the Legislature to create a temporary program to provide $5,000 bonuses to certified teachers who are teaching in Oklahoma for the first time. This will help to incentivize the 400 students graduating from our Oklahoma universities with education degrees to stay and boost our state’s recruitment efforts. A recent survey shows Oklahoma has 536 vacant teaching positions for the next school year. We have gone from 32 emergency certifications six years ago to more than 2,000 today. I’m ready to help lead the state in reversing the trend.
Learn more about my plan for Oklahoma’s public education and how a Stitt administration will begin the path to making us Top Ten in the nation. https://kevinstitt.wpengine.com/oklaed/