The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved legislation to encourage more classroom time for students.
Senate Bill 441 by Senator Marty Quinn is one of four agenda items of Senate Republicans. The bill passed on a 31-17 vote and now goes to the House for consideration.
“What’s best for students is to spend as much time as possible in the classroom with a quality teacher. Everything we do at the Legislature regarding education policy should be centered around students, and Senate Bill 441 puts the focus on students where it belongs,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “This legislation is an important part of the Senate Republican agenda, because we are dedicated to policies that support students and teachers.”
“Senate Bill 441 allows local input on specific district needs by giving school officials the choice in what school calendar option to pursue,” said Quinn, R-Claremore. “The more time a student spends in the classroom with a quality teacher, the better off that student is going to be. Whatever we do regarding education policy should be for the benefit of the student, and Senate Bill 441 is good for students. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for advancing this important legislation.”
Senate Education Committee Chairman Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, said, “I am proud that this bill still allows our local school districts to choose between hours and days in a classroom. This allows teacher collaboration and student tutoring, both of which benefit students.”
Key parts of SB 441:
For the 2019-2020 school year, there would be no change to existing law so school districts can choose to pursue 180 days of instruction or 1,080 hours of instruction with no restrictions.
Beginning in 2020-2021 school year:
o School districts will have three options:
- 180 days of classroom time
- 1,080 hours with a minimum of 165 days of classroom time
- 1,080 hours with no minimum of days of classroom time if districts are able to meet the minimum guidelines for school performance and cost savings.
o The Oklahoma State Department of Education will promulgate rules on minimum guidelines to receive an exemption.
- Public comment would be accepted during the rule-making process, giving school officials the ability to provide input on the development on exemptions.
- The State Board of Education would review and approve the rules.
- The Oklahoma Legislature would have to approve those rules in the 2020 legislative session.