House approves bills to increase special education teachers in classrooms, address teacher shortage

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Friday gave approval to two bills designed to increase the number of special education teachers in the classroom and to address the statewide teacher shortage.
Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, presented Senate Bill 1436, which creates a new pathway to certification in two areas for aspiring special education teachers and provides additional training for existing special education teachers.
“Oklahoma has a serious shortage of qualified special education in our schools, and we need to figure out how to provide better services for these students,” Miller said. “Senate Bill 1436 combines the two certification tests for these aspiring special educators into one comprehensive test and outlines a path to certification in severe-profound disabilities for teachers currently certified in mild-moderate disabilities. This would allow for a greater pool of qualified candidates so our students are learning from highly trained teachers.”
Currently, aspiring special education teachers must take two separate tests to certify in mild-moderate and severe-profound disabilities.
The bill also creates a micro-credential pathway for special education teachers already certified in mild-moderate disabilities to gain certification in severe-profound disabilities without taking the certification test.