Reading Sufficiency Act Creates Political Battle

Wednesday, May 21st 2014, 10:54 pm
By: News 9

Many parents across the state are claiming victory. The state House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to override the Governor's veto surrounding those controversial third grade reading tests.

Amy Eldridge was one of the parents leading the charge for House Bill 2625. She thinks her son TJ may have a severe form of dyslexia and says without Wednesday's decision he would be stuck in the 3rd grade.

"I'm overjoyed," said Amy Eldridge. "We had a whole group of people here watching, and oh my goodness, when it went to 9, I'm sure you could hear the cheers all the way to Tulsa."

With the veto, teams of parents and teachers will decide whether third-grade students who failed reading assessments can advance to fourth grade.

"As soon as I heard about this two years ago, I knew right away it was going to hurt my son. So I started asking questions," said Eldridge.  

5/21/2014 Related Story: OK House, Senate Override Fallin Veto, HB 2625 Becomes Law

Even though TJ gets A's and B's in school, he didn't pass the state reading test.

"I just knew, you know what, I have to stand up and show that this is going to hurt kids with specials needs in Oklahoma," said Eldridge.  

Amy has a passion for working with special needs children. She runs an international orphan children's charity, specifically those with disabilities.

"Oh I've gotten texts from Australia, China, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ireland," said Eldridge. "Everyone was watching what was going on in Oklahoma. People are truly overjoyed."

But Gov. Mary Fallin maintains the bill is a step back.

"We're setting them up for failure if they can't read, and they can't learn the subjects that they're going to be moving on to in the 4th grade," said Fallin.

"I am completely behind anything that helps the education of Oklahoma children. Just not the bill that they had originally passed," said Eldridge.

This is the second time this session lawmakers overridden the Governor's veto.