Saturday, February 14, 2015

House and Senate Education Bills Scheduled for Monday, February 16th

These are the Senate and House Education bills being heard in Committee February 16th. 

Don't forget, you can look up all bills by typing in the bill number in this form and looking under the tab that says "versions". Always read the very last bill on the list as that is the most current.

Oklahoma Senate Education Committee Meeting February 16, 2015

SB 5 Sharp – protects school employees and volunteers in the event of having to use reasonable restraint on a student in a public school setting (Sad it's necessary, but YES)

SB 20 Sharp- (Comm Sub) providing for out of state highly qualified teachers to have reciprocity for their teachers license (If we're in a teacher shortage and we're using teachers without degrees - TFA - and important Turkish teachers - Dove Academy - we can certainly allow degreed teachers from other states to come here and teach. YES)

SB 137 Brooks - Disability compensation shall not be included in determining financial need for OHLAP. (We're already paying kids to go to Universities now. Under this law, even more people will now qualify for OHLAP. This is spreading the wealth and destroying work ethic. Simply because you are poor does not mean you're unable to get into a college or university. There are scholarships for many of these situations. It may take hard work, but it's the same hard work for those not considered impoverished. Dr. Ben Carson is an excellent example of someone in poverty attending university - and beyond. NO)

SB 162 Halligan - Rules for exemptions from mandated test for the most severe cognitive 
disabilities. (It's a 'proposed' Committee Sub, but as written we have no objections. YES)

SB 404 Ford – Setting up a new program for career tech (Setting up ANOTHER program with FEDERAL FUNDS? For Career Tech - which is doing very well on its own thank you very much? ABSOLUTELY NOT)

SB 414 Brinkley – Amending eligible schools to the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (Again, don't like taxpayers funding higher education for others, but if we're going to do it, let's at least be 'fair' about it. How about repealing OTEG next year? It would help balance the budget. YES)

SB 609 Jolley - ESA bill – (We support Rep Nelson’s ESA bill (HB2003) with a few modifications. Why is this bill almost 3 times as long? If both bills pass we will watch the conference process carefully. We support Education Savings Accounts so long as homeschoolers are kept from state mandates of any kind in order to take advantage of the program. NO on the senate version.)

SB 630 Ford – Amending RSA (which has sunset). An intensive remediation plan will be established for 1st and 2nd graders who did poorly on reading tests by a Student Reading Proficiency Team who will develop reading proficiency plan. (Why is the state getting involved again in reading? This is another mandate. Local schools/districts need to determine what is best for their students without the legislature creating another law to handcuff teachers and that may work for some but not for everyone. NO)

SB 674 Halligan – Tobacco free schools and school property (Another mandate. This is a local/district issue. NO)

SB 708 Ford - Beginning with next school year, removes state-madated testing in grades 3-8, 7th grade Geography test, 8th grade Social Studies, Government & Writing Tests. (Need to stop high stakes testing. One caveat - students MUST LEARN history and government. They should be tested in this area without stakes. YES)

SB 709 Ford – A huge Teacher recruitment scheme – there will not be any money for this within this years' budget, so it shouldn't be passed. NO 

SB 711 Sparks – Letting OSDE know when and why a teacher was let go Oklahoma House (Major lack of communication here on re-hiring fired teachers. YES

Common Education Committee Meeting 2/16/15

HB 1823 Martin – Putting a hold on A-f School grades for one year – to study (We think they should hold it forever. YES)

HB 1685 Denney – Tobacco free schools and school property (see Halligan's bill above - NO)

HB 1027 Cannaday - Delaying the quantitative portion of TLE (We must get something slowed or eliminated for TLE. The stakes are too high, too much data is being collected on kids – it is a disaster. A bill needs to pass to work with! YES)

HB 1065 Nollan - Administer a valid and reliable criterion-referenced test that measures only reading proficiency and not proficiency in the language arts. (Last year's fight over the RSA brought to light the fact that 4th graders were not being tested simply on their reading/comprehension skills but language arts processes as well. Reading is reading, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. should not be part of the exam. YES)

HB 1272 Casey – Personal discussion indicates he is laying this bill over.

HB 2003 Nelson – ESA bill – we support this bill with some modifications and want to see the discussion begin on ESAs. Every parent needs to be able to choose the school and plan of education best for each of their children. YES)

HB 1380 Fisher – Replacing AP US History with a course teaching specified concepts creating a corresponding exam. Requiring US History courses taught in Oklahoma schools to include several specific concepts/points. (ROPE began by supporting a very similar bill because many aspects of US History are being twisted and/or omitted in public schools today. American history textbooks today often fully omit the American Revolution and the founding documents. Most students today have very little knowledge of either. YES)

HB 2014 J Coody – Allows handguns to be carried by school personnel who have successfully completed special reserve school resource officer academy. (Gun free zones are only safe as long as there are no persons with guns looking to harm students/faculty. Students/faculty should not be targets. YES)

HB 1333 Lockhart – Adding an international ranking to the A-F school grade. (The current school grading system is of uncertain facility currently. Why add anything until Oklahomans know the A-F system is accurate and informative. NO)

HB 1691 Denney – Large school districts may contract privately for educational services including the delivery of instructional service in core and noncore academic subjects (We would like to see an amendment on this bill to protect student data requiring that companies not share data gathered and that any gathered data must be destroyed upon contract end. YES with amendment)

HB 2130 Cleveland – Bill has no language in it, but it claims to be a repealer. We're ALL for repealing laws, but until we see the language, NO.