Lawmakers for years have called for more accountability and standards for Oklahoma’s public school teachers. Some wanted merit pay, meaning teachers who achieve certain standards get higher pay.

Thousands of Oklahoma teachers took them on their word and achieved the National Board certified status. In exchange, the state agreed to pay a $5,000 annual stipend for teachers who made the cut.

Now, the state has decided it can’t afford the certification bonuses and is asking local districts to pay the bonuses instead. Norman has 124 teachers, giving it a liability of more than $600,000.

The State Board of Education, by a 4-3 vote, cut the item from its budget. State Superintendent Janet Barresi cast the tiebreaking vote.

On top of funding cuts and retirement changes, teachers are now getting another zinger that may make them rethink their chosen profession.

Times are tough all around but it seems shameless that the one “merit-based” bonus that was established is an area that has been cut.

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