Senate roundup: Education measures advance
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2/12/13 at 7:55 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A Senate panel on Monday passed a bill that would give students an option when they are denied a high school diploma for failing to pass end-of-instruction exams.
The Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 226 by Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, by a vote of 7-0.
The measure would allow students who can't pass four of seven end-of-instruction exams to get a diploma to re-enroll in the district and receive remediation, Ford said.
Last year was the first year students were required to pass the exams to receive a diploma.
Critics said the mandate unfairly punished students who completed all of the other requirements to graduate. Supporters said the mandate was needed to ensure that a high school diploma meant something.
Under SB 226, a student would be allowed to take the remediation until he or she turned 21, said Ford, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
The bill also "provides some funding to the local district to continue to educate the student," he said.
Also passed was SB 58 by Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, which would make it optional for Langston University to offer courses in Tulsa. State law now requires the offerings, Crain said.
The measure passed 12-0.
Another Crain bill, SB 59, would allow Oklahoma State University to offer accounting at its Tulsa campus.
Crain said current law does not allow OSU-Tulsa to offer the course, so many students drive to Stillwater to take it there.
The bill was amended from requiring OSU-Tulsa to offer accounting to merely allowing it to do so.
At present, only Langston University is allowed to offer accounting at the Tulsa campus, Crain said.
The bill was not a request bill from OSU-Tulsa, Crain said.
The measure passed 10-1.
The panel also passed a bill that would create a Public Charter School Commission that would have the power to sponsor charter schools in any district.
Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, the author of SB 573, said that too often charter schools are operating exactly like public schools, although they were set up to allow for innovation and experimentation.
"This bill tries to really do a better job on charters than what we are currently doing," he said.
The commission would look at the applications of all charter schools to make sure they are accountable and have a plan that would work.
Jolley called the measure a work in progress.
"Some charters are good," he said. "Some are not."
The measure passed 7-3.
All of the measures now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Original Print Headline: Panel OKs remediation plan
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
Sen. Brian Crain: His bills would allow OSU-Tulsa to offer accounting and give Langston the option to offer - or not offer - classes in Tulsa.