Oklahoma Covers Certification Exam Costs for Aspiring Teachers

The Oklahoma State Department of Education will invest up to $1.9 million in state set-aside federal relief dollars over a three-year period to pay for certification exam fees for 5,000 teacher candidates per year, totaling 15,000 teachers throughout the duration of the program. This program addresses teacher shortage recruitment and retention challenges by removing the financial barrier of exams costs.

We are spotlighting this effort as an innovative use of the state set-aside to help address staffing shortages. Covering the certification exam costs for 15,000 aspiring teachers can help remove financial barriers and ease their path into full-time teaching roles.

Reviewer Analysis

The Education Trust

This aligns with many of Ed Trust’s recommendations around eliminating financial barriers to the profession to help diversify the workforce. From an equity perspective, the program should prioritize participant diversity.

The Rural Alliance

We are encouraged by the use of federal dollars to remove a financial barrier for prospective teachers.

Leslie Villegas

More information is needed to understand whether/how candidates specializing in EL education will be intentionally included in these efforts.

The Bush Center

This is a smart policy given that OK has low teacher pay relative to other states. This feels more like a band aid than a systemic solution given that it is time bound.

National Parents Union

This is also a very good use of the ESSER funds. As long as there are assurances in place to make sure that the teachers being assisted come from a diverse background.

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