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Senate approves legislation to improve graduation rates

Senator John Ford Senator John Ford

The state Senate on Monday approved legislation designed to ensure more Oklahoma high school students earn their diplomas.

“If we’re serious about growing our economy, we have to find a way to keep more of our students in school and on track for graduation,” said Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville. “I don’t believe we can expect improved results without raising expectations. This is a vital part of our effort to strengthen our schools and give our students a better chance for success.”

Senate Bill 2, authored by Ford, would create a formula for schools to set new graduation targets. The measure establishes a target of 20 percent improvement in graduation rates over a two-year period. Schools meeting the target would be recognized as ‘notable’ schools, while schools falling short of the target would be required to work with the Department of Education on a plan to improve graduation rates.

According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, nearly 14,400 Oklahoma high school students failed to graduate in 2010. The same organization estimates the lost lifetime earnings in Oklahoma for that group to be over $3.7 billion.

“We owe it to our students to give them the best possible chance at a successful life,” Ford said. “It’s time for Oklahoma to take the steps necessary to place more students on the path to graduation.”

SB 2 now moves to the House for further consideration.

Contact info
Sen. Ford: (405) 521-5634