Oklahoma Goes Where No State Legislature Has Gone Before
It’s astounding when concerned citizens have to celebrate a state legislature reclaiming control of what is rightfully theirs to control: the educational development and delivery of their standards. State legislatures should NEVER have had to spend time in session undoing what is illegal. Governors overstepped their authority to sign their states on to the concept of national standards (they weren’t even written) and give away their state’s right to set educational standards and assessments to private companies. It is astounding that a state legislature has to pass legislation to thwart the plans of private organizations to take over the control of public education and bypasses voters and legislators.
Kudos to the Oklahoma House and Senate becoming the first legislature to draw the line in the sand for the education reformers via the repeal of Common Core standards. It told them it was not interested in their schemes for power and unfunded mandates. It now lies on the desk of Governor Mary Fallin. Below is the press release from Restore Oklahoma Public Education detailing the bill that repudiates the Common Core State Standards Initiative. And special thanks to the tireless citizens who kept going to the capitol year after year educating and lobbying their legislators to follow the law. You all are the reason the reverberation from this historic legislation will be felt in all the states.
Bill To Repeal And Stop Common Core Passes Oklahoma House and Senate May 23
The last day of the 2014 session, Friday, May 23rd, the Oklahoma House passed HB3399 with a wide margin. Hours later, the bill passed the Senate and has now reached the desk of Governor Mary Fallin. All indications are that she will sign the bill, however, she could execute a pocket veto if the bill is not signed before Monday June 2.
If signed, HB3399 would be the most thorough removal of Common Core from any state of adoption in the nation to date. The bill:
- Repeals Common Core from state law, creating a framework for standards to be written by Oklahomans over a two year time period.
- Directs a return to the state’s previous standards and tests during the interim.
- Requires the “mastery of the “standard algorithms in math” – the “most logical, efficient way of solving a problem that consistently works”, in attempt to curb the concept of ‘fuzzy math’.
- Requires Oklahoma’s new standards be compared against the Common Core State Standards to ensure they are NOT in alignment.
- Provides legislative review and approval of finalized standards as created through the State Board of Education.
- Prohibits the state Board of Education from entering into any agreements that would in any way cede control or authority of Oklahoma standards or tests.
- Directs standards and tests to be developmentally appropriate.
- Creates a paper and pencil test option in the event online testing creates issues for students.
Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE), has advocated against Common Core since 2010, working with state Representative Sally Kern as early as the 2011 legislative session to author a Common Core repealer bill. Since that time, there has been at least one Oklahoma House bill authored against Common Core every session.
“I am gratified and very thankful to have so many in our State legislature allow us to educate them on the issue of Common Core over the years. Had so many members not maintained an open mind and reviewed our research, there would have been no way to have passed this kind of comprehensive bill”, said Jenni White, President of ROPE. “We ALL want high standards for our children, but we especially want parents involved in the process of educating their children. Common Core was putting a wedge between parent and teacher, teacher and administrator, and all but neutering school boards. Local control of education has been proven time and time again to be the best system for ensuring students the best possible educational results.”
“ROPE also thanks Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman and Senate Pro Temp Brian Bingman for their excellent leadership in keeping this bill moving through the process. In addition, Representative Jason Nelson, and Senators Josh Brecheen and Anthony Sykes did yeoman’s work in the production of a bill to bring Oklahoma’s education back to Oklahoma parents and educators and we will forever be grateful for their efforts and advocacy.”
“We are so very proud to have worked side-by-side with many other great group leaders across the state this year to educate parents, grandparents and Oklahoma citizens against Common Core,” White said. Without their education of others in their neighborhoods, cities, towns and through social media – as well as the tireless phone calls and emails made to the state Capitol by countless thousands of Oklahomans pleading legislators to stop Common Core – this kind of overwhelming victory would have been nothing short of impossible. We now humbly ask Governor Fallin to sign HB3399 into law and eagerly await the date we can celebrate with her, this tremendous win for public education in Oklahoma – and across the nation.”