Monday, December 18, 2023

State Sen. Pugh files VET Act to recruit military retirees to classrooms

Pugh files VET Act to recruit military retirees to classrooms

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 15th) – Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, has filed legislation to attract military retirees from around the country to Oklahoma’s classrooms. Senate Bill 1311 would create the Veterans Entering Teaching (VET) Act and pay for veterans’ schooling to become educators if they agreed to teach in the state for three consecutive years.

“We’ve made tremendous strides in the last couple of years to get more teachers in our classrooms, but we still currently have more than 3,700 positions being filled by emergency certified teachers. We’re grateful for these individuals stepping up and helping in our time of need but we’re missing a major opportunity to utilize our highly trained and qualified military veterans as they look to begin their second career,” Pugh said. “We need certified teachers, and this is an opportunity to let America’s heroes utilize their vast expertise and experience to guide Oklahoma’s future generations.”

The VET Program would create a revolving fund to provide tuition and mandatory fee assistance for up to five years to students to earn a degree from an approved teacher preparation program at an institution of higher education within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. To qualify, veterans must have been honorably discharged from the military within three years of enrollment. Students would be required to sign an agreement that they would earn a bachelor’s degree from an approved teacher preparation program, meet teacher certification requirements, and agree to teach in a school district for three consecutive years. Those who failed to comply with the agreement would be required to repay their assistance or get a hardship waiver.

“We’ve been working hard to make Oklahoma the top state for veterans, and this is just another opportunity to help entice them to make our great state their home,” Pugh said. “Not only would they be helping strengthen our education system by filling these teaching gaps and sharing their incredible skills, knowledge, and leadership with Oklahoma’s students, they’d also be providing a much-needed economic boost for our local communities and state.”

SB 1311 will be available for consideration when the Legislature convenes in February.


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