You see, if you read through his article, he provides all kinds of "evidence" that the teacher shortage in Oklahoma is not real. I guess the fact that 800 positions could not be filled this year is not evidence enough. For purposes of this post, I am not going to address the issue of the "glut" of teachers coming from universities that causes teacher pay to be so low. Maybe a blogger more knowlegeable about university programs than I can address this. Although I have to wonder, if that is the case, why we can't fill those 800 positions. Not all of them require specialized or advanced degrees.

At any rate, I'm only going to deal with his main argument. He does not disagree that those 800 positions were not able to be filled. No, instead, he decided that they are not important enough to count as a teacher shortage.

cc Woodleywonderworks Kindergarten Classroom flickr.com |

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that all of these 800 vacancies are for elementary school teachers and that all classes fall under the legal requirement for class sizes. So, we'll say each class has 20 kids in it. (Please - elementary teachers, stop laughing. I needed numbers to use!). Further assume that each class is a self-contained class, so they only have one class per day. Eight hundred teachers times 20 students makes 16,000 of Oklahoma's children left without a teacher for the year. Sixteen thousand students who lose a year of proper education.

cc Karen Apricot Empty Classroom flickr.com |

All of that is ignoring the fact that research says smaller class sizes are better for kids. We're just trying to put a qualified teacher in front of every overstuffed class we have. What about if we made those class sizes realistic and had 25, 30 or 35 students per class, even in elementary? What about if we moved that percentage of high school teachers up? Those teachers normally have 5 to 7 class periods (150 to 175 students) per day. How many tens of thousands of students is it acceptable to leave without a teacher in Oklahoma?