State Lawmakers Debate Education Standards

Monday, March 21st 2016, 7:32 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The state Legislature passed bills to make modifications to education standards recommendations, but not without some heated debate.

“Today, we’re at a philosophical impasse as we need consistency for education in the State of Oklahoma,” said state Sen. Jason Smalley, R- Stroud, as lawmakers discussed the politics of education.

Two years ago, lawmakers passed a bill that repealed the Oklahoma education standards that met the requirements of Common Core. 

The move bought the state some time to come up with its new education standards. 

Fast forward to Monday. 

Recommendations for those standards have been made and lawmakers debated what changes they wanted to make to those recommendations. 

In a Senate education committee, members passed much of the plan with a few changes, and the agreement that legislators would stop what one senator called “micromanaging” public education. 

“At what point do we say you guys need daddy and mommy’s hand to hold through the process?” state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, asked.

In the end, the Senate committee moved forward with making changes to the recommendations. 

On the House side, representatives had the same questions: Why are legislators making changes to the plan? 

“We all got the letter from the superintendent saying no fix is necessary. No change is necessary,” said House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D- Del City.

“If we know there are issues why wouldn’t we fix them now and get this taken care of?” House Speaker Jeff Hickman replied.

Parents News 9 spoke with were not happy. They wanted the legislature to pass the standards as is. 

“It seems like a lot of the things they are wanting included in the standards are going right back to where we were with Common Core, with telling the teachers how to teach and how they are supposed to get their kids to that standard rather than saying ‘Here’s the standard. You do your job,'” parent Brooke Fonzi said.