WHERE HAVE ALL THE TEACHERS GONE?
For years…… all we heard was that teachers were moving out of Oklahoma because surrounding states were paying so much better. We were told that if we could just improve teacher pay, then suddenly the education community would be happy.
In the 4 years that I have served, the legislature has been told by our constituents, articles in newspapers, the OEA and by teachers themselves that the number one thing we need to fix is teacher pay. In fact, an entire group of legislators campaigned two years ago promising a teacher pay raise.
So, if the problem was teacher pay, you may be asking why teachers chose to strike just days after an historic pay raise was passed by the legislature. A few details of the teacher pay raise:
- The average raise will be almost $6,100
- $5k (15.8% raise) for new teachers
- $7,700 (18.2% raise) for veteran teachers
- Almost 53% of the appropriated budget is now dedicated to education
- The pay raise moves us to #28 nationally and #2 in the region in teacher pay
- When cost of living is considered, we move to #11 in teacher pay nationally!![i]
Why, after this, did the focus suddenly change from teacher pay to classroom funding & class size?
Let’s ask some basic questions about class size[ii]
The pay raise was given to 42,435 teachers plus 7,319 counselors, librarians and other support staff.
If we divide the number of students (692,670) by the number of teachers (42,435) we get:
16.3 students per teacher
During the strike, teachers told me over and over that they have 28 – 30 students per classroom.
I have no reason to doubt what I was told, so let’s ask some simple questions:
|QUESTIONS:||Teachers Required||Teachers NOT in the classroom|
|If we want 22 students in every classroom like we’re supposed to have, how many teachers does it take?||31,485||10,950|
|Let’s address the rural/AP/special ed classes: if we assume 35% of our students have a classroom size of 10 and the remaining 65% have a classroom size of 28, how many teachers does it take?||40,323||2,112|
If all 42,435 teachers were teaching, almost 40% of the teachers would have classroom sizes of 10 students and the remaining 60-61% would have 28 students per classroom!!!
Clearly, there are a LOT of Certified Teachers who received the pay raise that are not in the classroom.
So…. where are these teachers you might ask? I believe they are administrators!!!
Let’s look at the growth of Administrative Staff
Since 1994, the number of administrators and all other non-teaching staff in OK public schools statewide has grown by 29%. The number of students has grown by 13% and the number of teachers by 8%.[iii] [iv]
- In the Jenks public school district, administrators and other non-teaching staff grew by 81%, while students grew by only 39% and teachers grew by 38%.
- In the Bixby public school district, administrators and other non-teaching staff grew by 132%, while students grew by only 106% and teachers grew by 106%.
- In the Tulsa public school district, administrators and other non-teaching staff grew by 140%, while students declined by 3% and teachers declined by 7%.
In Oklahoma: [v]
“Teacher” is defined as “any person who is employed to serve as district superintendent, principal, supervisor, a counselor, librarian, school nurse or classroom teacher or in any other instructional, supervisory or administrative capacity. The person shall not be deemed qualified unless the person holds a valid certificate issued by and in accordance with the rules of the State Board of Education or the rules of the State Board of Career and Technology Education, to perform the particular services for which the person is employed;”
According to the US Department of Education:[vi]
“Teacher” is defined as “a professional school staff member who instructs students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, grades 1–12, or ungraded classes and maintains daily student attendance records.” Teacher aides and paraprofessionals are not considered teachers.
My guess is that many of the “certified” teachers the legislature just gave a pay raise to probably don’t meet the federal definition of a teacher.
Now, let’s answer the question…. ‘Where have all the Teachers Gone?’
Basically, nowhere. As far as I can tell, the data indicates that they are still classified as ‘certified teachers’ right here in Oklahoma but are working as administrators.
A word about Reform
As a legislator, I dig into data, compare it against my Biblical worldview and make a decision – that is my job. The data I shared today is a small part of a much larger picture. When the legislature passed a $550 million tax increase for teachers without asking for a single reform, I thought it was very irresponsible.
If you feel the same way and want to make a difference, I encourage you to run for your local school board.
Why does this all this matter?
Because, when you vote in the Republican primary on June 26th, you will be asked to make a choice.
CHOICE #1: Support Strohm – someone who has:
- Been honored as the most Conservative House Member of 2017[vii]
- Consistently fought for you, the taxpayer, by voting against outlandish tax increases
- BTW – a ‘revenue raising measure’ IS a ‘tax increase’
- Helped organize conservatives to fight against cronyism and big government
- Fought for traditional Oklahoma values (life of the unborn and the second amendment)
- Dug into details to uncover the truth (such as the info in this newsletter)
- Kept his campaign promises year after year
|In the Words of Dr. Tom Coburn, MD, Former US Senator for Oklahoma
Chuck Strohm is a rare politician whose actions at the Oklahoma Capitol reflect his campaign promises. Chuck has consistently voted not to raise taxes on working families. He has worked to prioritize taxpayer dollars so education funds go to classrooms and health care funds go to aid Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens. He is vilified by administrators and tax consumers who desperately cling to failed bureaucracies and crony carveouts
Chuck also stands strong for traditional family values. He is a defender of the Second Amendment and a champion for the unborn
Chuck Strohm is a bold, honest conservative. I am thankful for his integrity and proudly endorse him for re-election in House District 69
CHOICE #2: Support someone else…..
I humbly ask for your vote on June 26th – thank you.
[ii] NEA: Rankings of States 2017 and Estimates of School Statistics 2018
[v] Oklahoma Title 70 Section 1-116
[vi] NCES 2011-347 “Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment and Staff Counts From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009–10”