There was a time, just a few short days ago, that many of us wondered if the Oklahoma Senate would consider HB 3399, passed earlier this month by the Oklahoma House by a margin of 78-12. For those of you who are not familiar with this bill, its basic premise is simple. It will require Oklahoma education to be of the highest standards, but it also requires that it be under complete control of the state. It specifically prohibits our state from joining or entering into a contract with any federal agency or private entity. This is to ensure that Common Core is not implemented in Oklahoma, that we have control of what happens in our education system, not the federal government or the National Governors Association.
The Okie – Under the committee substitute for HB 3399, the State Board of Education would work with higher education and Career-Tech officials to adopt new English and mathematics standards by August 1, 2015.
House Speaker Jeff Hickman is the principal author of HB 3399.
“It is essential that we create standards that push our children to achieve in the 21st century,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “This option gives Oklahoma the flexibility to establish quality standards aimed at success and resist any overbearing federal intrusion into decisions that should be made by the states. We have proven Oklahoma can be an economic leader, and we can prove that Oklahoma can also lead the way in student achievement.”
House co-author of the measure is Rep. Jason Nelson.
“This respects local control by placing decision making authority regarding curriculum, textbooks, learning materials, and reading lists with local school districts,” said Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “We all want high standards which are developed and controlled by Oklahomans and that prepare our students for active citizenship.”
Under the legislation, school districts will have the exclusive right to determine instructional materials, curriculum, reading lists and textbooks.
Jenni White is the president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education.
“We are thankful to the bill’s authors for their tireless work on HB 3399, and are truly grateful to House and Senate leadership for soliciting our input,” White said. “It will be a great relief to finally repeal the Common Core State Standards from Oklahoma law.”
Carolyn L. McLarty, Republican National Committeewoman for Oklahoma, joined White in her support of the legislation.
“In supporting the Senate committee substitute to HB 3399, I am very pleased that our legislators have found a constructive way to come together, listen to input from the people, follow the intentions of the Governor’s executive order, and act to help protect Oklahoma students, teachers and parents from federal control of education,” McLarty said.
The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 24, in room 535 of the state Capitol. The Senate live-streams all floor sessions and committee meetings at www.oksenate.gov.
I believe it is important for Oklahoma to implement the requirements in HB 3399. Without them, Common Core could very well become the standards by which our education system is judged. In effect, that would cede the controls we have as a state to the federal government and whatever agency is charged with making sure the Common Core standards are followed. As I have written multiple times before, I do not believe that would be a good idea. I know Governor Fallin is fond of Common Core, but we, as Oklahoma citizens, who she works for, need to stand up and let our voices be heard. Common Core needs to be sent back to the hole it crawled out of and the door to that hole sealed forever.