Skip to Content

Sounds about right: 30,000 Oklahoma teachers have quit since 2013.


Relatively speaking, 30,000 is usually considered to be a pretty big number. For example, American hero and discount John Lennon impersonator Don Gorske holds a World Record for eating 30,000 McDonald’s Big Macs in his lifetime. 30,000 is about the population of Shawnee, America. And there are approximately 30,000 CBD oil/vape shops located in the 1-mile radius of the 63rd and May intersection. But somehow when it comes to the mass teacher exodus from Oklahoma, 30,000 suddenly doesn’t seem like that much.

Via the Washington Post…

Oklahoma’s schools superintendent described it as “staggering,” and it is: A new report says that 30,000 teachers in the state have quit the profession over the past six years — and about half did it because of low pay, little respect and other reasons that made the job too hard or unattractive….

The exodus of teachers, the Department of Education said in a release, “represents an average of 10 percent of Oklahoma’s teacher workforce, in comparison to a national attrition rate of 7.7 percent.” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was quoted as saying, “Steep budget cuts over the last decade have made the teaching profession in Oklahoma less attractive, resulting in a severe teacher shortage crisis and negative consequences for our schoolchildren. The loss of 30,000 educators over the past six years is staggering — and proof that our schools must have the resources to support a growing number of students with an increasing number of needs.”

After years of inadequate classroom funding and all-around crappy pay, I honestly would’ve thought that the rate of Oklahoma teachers peace-ing the hell out would have been higher. I once worked with a guy who left our job after 2 days on the schedule simply because the boss wouldn’t let him wear a weird, sacrilegious Darth Vader/Mother Mary shirt to work. Our Oklahoma teachers who are choosing to stay in the profession are putting up with a lot more bullshit than Tanner did at our job, and probably for the same amount of money we made working part-time for the movie theater. Is there any way to fix this for the educators sticking it out?

Oklahoma’s public school system has suffered one of the largest national budget cuts over the past decade. As a result, steep reductions to school budgets have forced administrators to implement strategies to reduce expenses, many of which critically hinder instruction and unequivocally contribute to making the teaching profession less attractive…

The reasons they have left can be seen in this chart from the report, which was first reported on by the Tulsa World.

The report makes clear: “The key takeaway from this data is about half of teacher attrition could be addressed through policy and practice changes.”

I highly doubt our remaining teachers will benefit from any policy or practice changes any time soon. In fact, I am not even sure the lawmakers actually want to solve the educator exodus problem. The way they likely see it is the more teachers who leave the profession, the fewer educated professionals they’ll have to answer to at the capitol during the next walkout. Just give the Tanners of the world their emergency certifications and cross your fingers our kids don’t graduate with somehow fewer critical thinking skills.

Hayley has 4 critical thinking skills. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter