Lawmakers just passed a bill giving parents and teachers a chance to be involved in the decision to move a third-grader on to the next grade level. The bill will still have to be signed into law by the governor.
It's a joyous time for many parents and educators, who didn't like that third-grade students could be held back solely based on their reading tests scores. The bill just passed gives them a say.
Having a committee of a parent, two teachers, a principal and a reading specialist to determine the fate of a third-grade student struggling to read is what House Bill 2625 is all about.
"When this law took place, the parents were taken out of the equation, and the passing of the bill will allow parents back in to be a voice for their child's education on whether they should be retained or not," Meredith Exline, with the Oklahoma Central Parent Legislative Action Committee, said.
5/12/2014 Related Story: OK Parents Of Students Who Did Not Pass Reading Test Speak Out
Exline joined dozens of parents and educators at the state Capitol to await the bill's vote, but it wasn't an easy task as the author of the bill, Representative Katie Henke, was met with opposition.
Representative Jason Nelson battled the bill to see if all the amendments were in students' best interest.
"When people say, ‘well this bill includes parents,' well parents can go to the school and say what they want now," said Representative Nelson. "They would have no more or no less power under this bill."
The arguments lasted for hours as both sides held their ground.
"If we go ahead and promote them fourth-grade, we outta have some idea on how much time it's going to take," Representative Nelson said.
In the end, Henke's bill was passed by the house, and parents were pleased.
"And if we are for local control, then we should put it back to the parents and those that are closest to the child," Exline added.
The house voted 83 to 6 to pass The Reading Sufficiency Act. The bill now heads to the governor.