It’s no secret that Oklahoma is facing as major teacher crisis. But, as Oklahoma Watch reports, within that larger crisis is another problem. The state suffers from an increasingly dwindling pool of special education teachers.
School districts in Oklahoma have had trouble finding and keeping good special education candidates, and some of those districts have been forced to leave open positions unfilled. Shelley Arrott, the Ponca City Public Schools Superintendent, explained that she can’t reduce special education class sizes, and she can’t pay her teachers more. She added, “But I can appreciate them and make them feel valued, so that’s our big push.”
Special education positions are the most difficult to fill, according to a recent survey of 300 Oklahoma school districts. While a lack of qualified special education teachers is a nationwide problem, it’s compounded in Oklahoma by the state’s low teacher salaries.