Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman today said the federal government’s decision to deny the extension of Oklahoma’s No Child Left Behind waiver will punish the state and further an agenda to control schools.
The decision could force Oklahoma schools to reexamine their budgets to comply with federal regulations. Bingman said the denial was a political statement intended to punish Oklahoma for implementing reforms that empower parents and communities and encourage the adoption of more rigorous educational standards.
“President Obama and the United States Department of Education have chosen to place politics ahead of the well-being of Oklahomans,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “Our education reform efforts have been squarely focused on ushering in higher standards and empowering parents with choice and more ability to direct their children’s education. Unfortunately, the President and Washington bureaucrats have responded with a decision that attempts to place additional burdens on schools.”
Oklahoma this year repealed the Common Core standards with House Bill 3399, which was approved by broad, bipartisan majorities in the Senate and House. Sen. Josh Brecheen, who sponsored the proposal in the Senate, said the Legislature’s decision to repeal Common Core restored to the state the ability to establish curricular standards that exceed Common Core, with the input of families, teachers and school administrators.
“Oklahomans, not Washington bureaucrats, are in the best position to determine how we teach our children,” said Brecheen, R-Coalgate. “I am confident our repeal of Common Core will result in even higher standards and better educational outcomes, and it is an outrage that the federal government has chosen to punish us for our efforts to strengthen Oklahoma schools. The process for developing new academic standards specifically crafted to the needs of our students is advancing, and we are committed to fighting the federal government’s decision.”