Teacher Pay Raises
The Chamber recognizes the need to increase Pre-K-12 teacher base pay by at least $5000 per year, using new revenues if necessary. In order to bring Oklahomans together on this vital issue we believe there must be a plan that includes these key components:
Long-term Teacher Pay Plan
The Chamber supports development of a long-term teacher pay plan that helps address the teacher shortage by rewarding teacher performance and experience or incentivizes teachers to work in high priority areas.
Early Childhood Education
The Chamber steadfastly supports early childhood education and full funding of prekindergarten 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.
Development of New Curriculum Standards
The business community, through the Chamber, must be actively involved in making sure Oklahoma adopts new high-quality standards to ensure high school graduates are college and career ready. The Chamber should be actively engaged with the State Department of Education and State Board of Education as they implement and modify new statewide standards. The Chamber must continue to advocate for standards that will help educators prepare students to meet the high expectations of higher education and employers.
Maintain and Protect Graduation Requirements
The Chamber wants all high school graduates to be prepared to enter college or the workforce. In 2016 the Chamber supported elimination of the end-of-instructions tests because we expect to see the State Department of Education and State Board of Education to adopt new graduation standards in 2017. The Chamber supports creation of new high school graduation requirements. We support utilization of a nationally-recognized assessment, such as the ACT or other nationally-recognized tests, to be used as part of new graduation requirements. New requirements must be rigorous, cost-effective, nationally comparable, timely and relevant to students/educators/parents.
A-F School Report Cards
The Chamber has historically supported creation of meaningful accountability and performance assessment systems including the A-F school site reports. The Chamber will support improvements to this system that are relevant and that make the reports easy for parents and community members to understand. Scores must reflect real performance.
Public Charter Schools
The Chamber supports charter schools and education choices. Charter schools are public schools with public school students and are required to adhere to Oklahoma statute regarding public schools. We support creating high-quality charter schools and enabling successful charter schools to grow.
We support creating a solution to ensure all public schools are funded equitably, and specifically we support creating a solution to address the facility needs of Oklahoma charter schools.
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. Over half of OSSM graduates stay in Oklahoma, and 85 percent choose STEM careers. The Chamber supports full funding of the OSSM FY 2017 budget request.
School and Campus Safety
The Chamber continues to oppose efforts that would allow firearms to be present on college and career tech campuses. The Chamber believes firearms should not be part of life on campus. The Chamber opposes efforts to permit the carrying of weapons at early childhood, pre-K through 12, college and career tech facilities.
Higher Education – College Degree Completion and Funding
Since 2011, Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have been working to increase the number of degrees and certifications. The Chamber supports prioritizing funds to ensure continued success for the Complete College America initiative.
The Chamber supports higher education capital and maintenance improvements to support record enrollment growth as funding is available.
Oklahoma’s Promise is one of the most successful college access programs in the country. We oppose legislation that would diminish the program’s focus on college access. We support efforts to increase the number of college graduates and to maintain the direct allocation of state funds, which ensures full funding of the scholarships earned by Oklahoma students.
CareerTech – Business and Industry Training
The Oklahoma CareerTech system is acknowledged as one of the top systems in the nation. CareerTech is a key ingredient in attracting industry to Oklahoma through its Training for Industry Program (TIP). The Chamber supports enhancement of CareerTech programming and ongoing funding to assure that training needs for new and existing industry are being met.
Career Readiness and Certification
The Chamber believes Oklahoma needs more of its workforce to have post-secondary education targeted toward the skills that are in demand and meet industry needs.
These will help achieve the Complete College America goals by enabling more students enter college and obtain a college degree.
For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.