Several Proposed Education Bills Spark Conversations


Thursday, January 20th 2022, 7:05 pm


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Thursday at 4 p.m. is the deadline for bills to be filed for the upcoming legislative session.  

A slew of education bills expected to be heard in the legislature in just a couple weeks are already generating a lot of conversation.  

Several key bills seek to regulate the content of curriculum that teachers can teach in the classroom.  

SB1442 filed by Senator Shane Jett seeks to bar public schools from using federal, state or private funds to teach concepts about social-emotional learning. 

The “Play to Learn Act” looks to promote child-directed, play-based learning. 

In part, the bill would require that: “No school or school employee shall use any curricula with content related to social emotional learning in the training, instruction, or education of students.”  

SB1174 by Sentator George Burns looks to prevent teachers from being compelled by education administrators to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs. 

Senator Nathan Dahm filed (SB1102) that would update the state social studies standards to require at least 45 minutes of instruction on “Victims of Communism” day about how leaders like Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro harmed civilians. 

Rep. Jim Olsen filed HB 2988, which would prohibit teaching “certain concepts pertaining to America and slavery” in Oklahoma’s K-12 public schools and universities. The bill would specifically ban the use of the New York Times 1619 project.  

Senator Rob Standridge filed two bills to regulate what he feels is “indoctrination” in schools about gender and sexuality. SB 1142 prevents schools from having or promoting books that address sex, sexual preferences and gender identity.  

SB 1141 prohibits colleges from mandating students to take courses that are not a core requirement.  

House Rep Jacob Rosecrants filed several education bills – in one, he (HB2985) proposes the “Empowering Parents over Testing Act of 2022,” to give parents a way to opt students out of mandatory state testing. The bill seeks to prohibit any consequences for students who don’t test, and also ensures that state testing is encouraged.  

Rosecrants also filed a bill (HB3047) to require that recess be 40 minutes per day, outside, and that it be unstructured and child-led. In recent social media post Rosecrants said the “Active Oklahoma Kids Act” would be his biggest push this legislative session.  

Some legislation touching on the public-private school debate in Oklahoma was filed by Senator Dahm.  

SBl 1420 to provide any student in the state with a scholarship in the amount of their calculated state aid to attend the private school of their choice.  

SB 1402, the “Professional Teacher Charter,” would create a way for teachers to become professional education practitioners. They can oversee their own practice, just like a doctor.  

The 2022 legislative session is scheduled to begin February 6th.