The Pryor Times

Opinion

March 29, 2014

Oklahoma control over education standards

PRYOR, OK — The Senate Education Committee passed House Speaker Jeff Hickman’s House Bill 3399, a measure that places control of K-12 education standards solely in the hands of Oklahomans.

“Our children are our most precious resource,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “The language adopted today sends a clear message that Oklahomans can and will guide the standards to prepare Oklahoma children for higher education and career success.”

HB 3399 calls for the state to create elementary and secondary school standards that are determined by the State Department of Education, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the State Board of Career and Technology Education to make students college and career ready. Oklahoma would be required to adopt new standards by August 1, 2015. The measure allows Oklahoma to maintain independence from any national or interstate compact standards, and school districts will control the learning materials and curriculum adopted to meet the new set of standards.

Rep. Jason Nelson, a co-author of the bill, said the committee’s passage of HB 3399 is a significant step forward for the academic expectations of school children in the state.

“The principles that have guided the drafting of HB 3399 are protecting the state’s sovereignty over our education system, setting academic standards that exceed all previous standards - including Common Core,” said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “This measure also protects the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver and establishes a process for public comment during the development of new standards. This will include comment from parents, educators, representatives of the business community and many others. Critics who say this is a step back from higher standards and suggest that it puts federal funds in jeopardy have no basis for those concerns.”

HB 3399 will now move to the Senate floor for consideration.

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