Oklahoma already doesn’t have enough teachers and, after the Step Up Plan failed in the State House last Monday, it may get worse. Before the start of the school year, it was estimated that there were 800+ vacancies in schools statewide.


According to a recent SoonerPoll of teachers in the state, 34.4 percent of teachers strongly agreed that they have become more serious about stopping or retiring from teaching all together.

[QUESTION] Since the Step Up vote on Monday, I have begun to more seriously consider stopping or retiring from teaching all together.

1. Strongly agree 34.4%
2. Somewhat agree 24.4
3. Neutral/Don’t know 20.8
4. Somewhat disagree 8.2
5. Strongly disagree 12.2

An almost equal number strongly agreed that they have become more serious about changing professions or pursuing another career.

[QUESTION] Since the Step Up vote on Monday, I have begun to more seriously consider changing professions or pursuing another career.

1. Strongly agree 32.8%
2. Somewhat agree 25.0
3. Neutral/Don’t know 18.2
4. Somewhat disagree 9.7
5. Strongly disagree 14.3

And some are also seriously thinking about leaving the state to teach in other states.

[QUESTION] Since the Step Up vote on Monday, I have begun to more seriously consider leaving the state of Oklahoma and teaching in another state.

1. Strongly agree 32.4%
2. Somewhat agree 16.9
3. Neutral/Don’t know 19.4
4. Somewhat disagree 10.2
5. Strongly disagree 21.0

Teachers were split on which one they would pursue first, but none of the choices are good for the state.

[QUESTION] Which one do you believe you would pursue first or foremost?

1. Stop teaching or retire 25.0%
2. Change professions and pursue another career 32.6
3. Leave Oklahoma and teach in another state 32.4
4. Don’t know 10.0

Additional analysis of the data shows that older, more experienced teachers were more likely to retire from teaching, middle-aged teachers were more likely to change professions, and younger teachers were more likely to leave the state and teach elsewhere.

“Without an increase in pay,” said Bill Shapard, founder of the SoonerPoll, “it’s a triple threat to the teaching profession in the state.”

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific online poll of 1,098 Oklahoma teachers.

The study was conducted online February 13-15, 2018 and respondents were selected at random among those with a teaching certificate in the state of Oklahoma and registered to vote. Teachers were identified by filtering out only teachers who were currently employed, retired, or looking for a teaching position in the state.

Weighting was not required for the study as the demographical profile of the sample was very similar to the profile of all teachers in the state.

The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 2.88 percent.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.


  1. Teachers getting a raise does NOTHING to help our children’s education! I think it’s deplorable that they are putting the students they claim to care about in bad situations by shutting down the schools to line their own pockets. I’ve never seen a teacher driving a jalopy or living in a shack. They don’t work a year round job so they make enough, yet they don’t care where they get the money for their raise! If it’s in gasoline tax the poor people making minumin wage, working all year, will be paying for them to get a raise that’s 1/2 a year wage for the poor people!!!

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