Pre-K - 12 Education
Early Childhood Education
The Chamber has been a steadfast supporter for early childhood education and full funding of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs. Targeted spending on our youngest children is simply a smart investment. The Chamber supports legislative initiatives to maintain early childhood education programs and initiatives.
The Chamber has been a strong advocate for charter schools and education choices. We support creating more charter schools and enabling successful charter schools to grow. We should:
- Enable charter schools to fund infrastructure, which may include changes to the school funding formula and/or allowing charter schools to utilize bond funding.
- Lift the caps on how many students can attend charter schools by:
- Allowing charters schools to be located anywhere in the state.
- Encouraging authorizers to expand caps on charter school attendance.
Online Education/Virtual Schools
Programs that offer online education opportunities are expanding rapidly. The Chamber supports legislation to define online curriculum and academic requirements. We support online education where providers meet academic content and rigor requirements similar to Oklahoma public schools. The Chamber supports legislation to clarify the rules governing online/virtual schools and creates transparency for providers, school districts, parents and students.
Improved Transparency of School Report Cards
The State Department of Education is working to implement the statewide A-F school grading system designed to improve transparency and evaluation of school performance. The Chamber supports implementation of the A-F grading system proposed by the State Department of Education and ongoing improvements to the grading system.
Increased Instruction Time
Oklahoma currently requires only 175 instructional days, which is among the lowest in the nation, and some schools have instructional days of six hours or less. We support legislation that facilitates increasing instruction time in the classroom and time on-task. This may include additional days and/or additional hours in the instructional day.
Improve Curriculum Standards
In 2010, legislation passed that requires the State Board of Education to adopt the K-12 Common Core Standards. We support full implementation of the core standards and in particular encourage higher math standards.
Maintain and Protect Graduation Requirements
The Chamber wants all high school graduates to be prepared to enter college or the workforce. We supported the Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) law that requires students to complete rigorous coursework and pass four of seven end-of-instruction exams. We oppose weakening graduation requirements or curriculum standards. We oppose legislative and administrative actions that could reduce the rigor of the testing system.
Fully Funding Recent Education Reforms
The Chambers support protecting existing education reforms – in particular ACE, Reading Sufficiency and Teacher Leader Effectiveness – by fully funding the strategies necessary to successfully meeting these expectations.
Statewide Student Records System
The Chamber supports aggressive implementation of a uniform, statewide student records system.
Teacher Preparation and Support Pipeline
Oklahoma’s teacher preparation system needs to be improved at all levels. Preparation of prospective teachers, on-the-job improvement opportunities and enabling high-performing teachers to pursue a financially attractive career ladder without leaving the classroom, are critical issues.
The Chamber supports higher education programs and partnerships that better prepare teachers for real-life classrooms and enable higher education to monitor graduates’ teaching performance.
We support the National Board Certification (NBCT) model as a basis for teacher improvement, including these reforms:
- Recertification, with a cap to contain costs.
- Reinstatement of scholarships for teachers who want to pursue certification.
- Continued payment of teachers who attained certification under the promise of an annual stipend.
- Investment in a pilot, whole-school professional development model.
- Pursue a pay-for-service stipend model for future NBCTs with a focus on mentoring other teachers and assuming leadership roles.
We support development of a competitive market-based salary and benefits package for teachers which encourages high-performing teachers to stay in the classroom. Including support for:
- Implementation of the Teacher Leader Evaluation (TLE) system.
- Incentives for high performance teachers who teach in hard-to-staff subjects, hard-to-staff geographic areas or in poor-performing schools.
Targeted Incentives for STEM Excellence and Achievement
There is a growing demand for students who can work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Oklahoma does not produce enough students that excel in STEM. The Chamber supports creation of programs to improve quality of teaching and student performance in the STEM fields.
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM) has consistently ranked among the nation's top public high schools. The Chamber supports the full funding of OSSM so it can remain a center for excellence in Oklahoma. The Chamber will oppose efforts that would require OSSM students to pay for their tuition or room and board, as this would create a barrier for certain students to attend.
Increased Requirements for School Leaders
Top-notch leadership by school superintendents and principals is critical to school performance. Additionally, Oklahoma is facing a shortage of experienced school leaders because of retirements and an aging workforce. The Chamber supports creation and implementation of initiatives that attract and develop innovative and high performing school leaders.
School and Campus Safety
In the past three years legislation has been introduced that would allow certain students to carry concealed weapons onto college property. The Chamber continues to oppose efforts to permit the carrying of weapons at any early childhood facility, K-12 school or on college campuses.
For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.