The OSU Professional Education Council spent some time brainstorming innovative solutions to Oklahoma’s teacher shortage and generated the following ideas for others to expand on, comment, question, etc.:
Develop a teacher hotline so our grads always have a line back to us for help. Whoever answered the hotline would be prepared to direct the inservice teacher to research-based assistance. Would retired teachers be interested in helping to man the hotline?
Extend the mentor teacher program by providing ongoing training in leadership and advocacy.
Design innovative paths to educator preparation — for example a “Grow Your Own” system to serve distance preparation. Could we involve Cooperative Extension?
Help “sweeten the pot” for teachers to stay in Oklahoma – work with communities to help provide fringe benefits, housing stipends, free tuition for masters degree, career ladders
High School to college to career pathway (incentives for students in HS future teacher programs)
Pair each legislator in a formal partnership with one teacher and his/her students to bring them into schools regularly
Develop our own legislative agenda to advocate for things like changing funding priorities (remove some benefits given by state to petroleum industry to divert to education or suspend testing program for two years and use those funds for teacher salaries)
Do a better job recruiting from underrepresented teacher groups
Sell our profession better — what is it about being an educator that is so great? (get beyond the salary issue to address the true WHY). Celebrate the profession!
Create a repository of “research-to-practice” presentations by having professional education faculty do a quick web-based presentation of anything they have presented at a conference (ex: study of students and grit just presented at AERA)
What do you think? Could we make any of these happen? Which would be the first priorities?