A measure to provide greater accountability and transparency in public education passed the State Senate with bipartisan support on Tuesday. Senator Clark Jolley is principal author of Senate Bill 1111, the “Educational Accountability Reform Act.”
The measure would restructure Oklahoma’s education system to create better transparency and accountability on data and testing. The current Office of Accountability would be restructured into the Educational Quality and Accountability Office.
“There is a problem nationwide with states being forthcoming about student achievement, because those achievement levels can directly impact public office holders,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “By moving testing oversight to an impartial third party, we can get objective numbers and begin to enact reforms that will truly improve student achievement.”
“Even the liberal New York Times said that ‘federal officials allowed states to game the system, which led inevitably to fakery,’” added Jolley.
Jolley also cited an article by The Wall Street Journal that quotes new education secretary Arne Duncan. The article reads, “In an interview Friday, Mr. Duncan said that while some states have done a good job of setting high standards and boosting student achievement, others are ‘lying to children and families’ about the quality of the education they provide.”
Jolley also authored an amendment to ensure social studies testing for fifth and eighth graders would continue. “An early version removed this as it was not required by the federal No Child Left Behind law, but after hearing from concerned educators, I authored an amendment to leave those tests in place.” Additional amendatory language would forbid an elected official from serving on the board charged with oversight of testing.
SB 1111, as amended, now moves to the House for further consideration.