OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law, Thursday, legislation designed to increase the number of qualified special education teachers in the classroom.
Senate Bill 1436, wrtten by Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa) and Rep. Nicole Miller (R-Edmond), introduces a new pathway for aspiring special education teachers to certify in two areas, and provides additional training for existing special education teachers, according to an Oklahoma House of Representatives news release.
“I was proud to sponsor SB 1436, which will result in the creation of a micro-credentialing program as a new pathway to increase the number of special education teachers in Oklahoma,” Stanislawski said.
The bill was passed with an emergency declaration, so it went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.
Miller said Oklahoma public schools have had a “serious shortage” of qualified special education teachers.
“Unfortunately, this means that our special education students aren’t receiving the best education possible. With Senate Bill 1436, Oklahoma will have one comprehensive test that covers both mild-moderate and severe-profound disabilities, so more teachers will be qualified to teach these students,” Miller said.
Aspiring special education teachers are currently required to take two separate tests to certify in mild-moderate and severe-profound disabilities.
The bill also creates a micro-credential route for special education teachers already certified in mild-moderate disabilities to achieve certification in severe-profound disabilities without taking the certification test, the news release states.