McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

March 26, 2014

Oklahoma teachers might be required to prepare for new standards


Ada —

   “My thoughts are that it’s a very ill-considered bill in that it’s not realistic,” she said.

   Paddack, D-Ada, also said the Legislature adopted a variety of educational reforms in the past but has not given school officials enough time to see if the changes are working.

   The substitute for House Bill 3399 passed out of committee on an 11-0 vote and will go to the full Senate. If the Senate approves the measure, it will go back to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.

   HB 3399 would ensure that Oklahoma retains control over educational standards and any associated tests, said Sen. Josh Brecheen, a Coalgate Republican who wrote the Senate version of the bill.

   “It would be of Oklahoma’s own choosing what those standards and assessments look like,”  he said.

   If HB 3399 becomes law, Oklahoma would be the second state to abandon Common Core math and reading standards. Indiana took the lead earlier this week, when Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a law allowing the state to withdraw from Common Core and develop homegrown standards instead.

   Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers through Achieve Inc., which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who heads the National Governors Association, has supported Common Core in the past.

   Raising educational standards and making classes more rigorous are key to preparing Oklahoma students for college or careers after high school, Fallin said Monday in a news release. She said that Oklahomans must take the lead in developing new standards instead of ceding control to the federal government or outside groups.

   “I support passing legislation that increases classroom rigor and accountability while guaranteeing that Oklahoma public education is protected from federal interference,” Fallin said. “While House Bill 3399 is still a work in progress, my hope is that it will accomplish these goals and ultimately be signed into law.”

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