Governor Stitt Issues Executive Order to Address Teacher Shortage, Help Keep Schools Open
Today, Governor Stitt issued Executive Order 2022-01 to help keep schools open for in-person learning by authorizing state agencies to allow employees to substitute teach without losing employment, pay or benefits. The governor announced the order at a press conference today, joined by Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, Oklahoma Chief Operating Officer Steven Harpe and State Chamber President and CEO Chad Warmington.
“I've said from the beginning that our students deserve an in-person education and our schools need to stay open. The state has a responsibility to do what we can to help make that happen, which is why I have signed this executive order to help schools suffering from staffing shortages,” said Governor Stitt. “I appreciate schools and teachers that are doing everything they can to provide in-person learning for their students, as well as the business community for stepping up.”
“It is vital Oklahoma schools stay open for our students and our teachers need support to make that happen,” said Sec. Walters. “We heard schools are struggling with staffing, so I want to thank Governor Stitt and Chad Warmington for stepping up with an innovative solution and partnership to help our schools support their students and families during this time. As the Secretary of Education and a former teacher, I will do everything I can to keep Oklahoma schools open and will continue to work with business leaders, school leaders, our faith community and state and legislative leaders to find solutions that put students first.”
"Businesses are already struggling with workforce shortages, just like schools,” said Chad Warmington, president and CEO of the State Chamber. “The new Guest Educator initiative will provide schools across the state with new options to help keep their doors open during this challenging time. We hope businesses are able to partner with their local districts and encourage available employees who are healthy and willing, to volunteer as substitute teachers. It's good for the community, good for kids and good for business.”
The Executive Order’s filing can be found here. This order will be effective for 120 days.
Superintendents from around the state joined in appreciation and support of Governor Stitt’s actions to help keep schools open:
“Our community in Dover, like everywhere, has been hit hard by COVID and we appreciate the governor allowing state employees to help fill our substitute teaching need.” – Max Thomas, Superintendent, Dover Public Schools
“I applaud the governor and the State Chamber for stepping forward with an innovative solution that should help us do everything we can to keep schools open. I hope that in this time of need, business and state employees will help us out and will also consider serving as substitutes in the future.” – Kent Southward, Superintendent, Ringling Public Schools
“I am grateful to our leadership for seeking creative and appropriate solutions to assist us in getting though this deeply trying time in our schools. These decisions will open the doors for hundreds of our Oklahoma public servants to help keep our doors open. Thank you.” – Chris Brewster, Superintendent, Santa Fe South Charter School