Legislature Passes Bipartisan Bill to Improve Oklahoma’s Education System

OKLAHOMA – The Oklahoma Legislature today passed Senate Bill 2033, an education reform bill that ties teacher and principal evaluations in part to student academic growth, requires annual evaluations of teachers and principals, increases the cap on teacher incentive pay and creates new tools for turning around failing schools. The bill was co-authored by President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, and Speaker of the House Chris Benge, R-Tulsa.

“We’ve worked diligently to raise academic standards and improve student success in Oklahoma, and this legislation will take our schools to the next level of achievement and accountability,” said Gov. Brad Henry. “It will facilitate improvements that benefit everyone who has a stake in an efficient and effective public education system.

“I want to thank my chief education advisor, Kathy Taylor, State Superintendent Sandy Garrett, legislative supporters and the many other stakeholders who made this legislation possible.”

The measure requires that the State Board of Education, with the advice and oversight of the Race to the Top Commission, develop and implement the Oklahoma Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System (). includes a five-tier rating system, annual evaluations that measure effectiveness and provide feedback to improve student learning, remediation plans and instructional coaching for teachers who need it and other measures to ensure student performance success. The bill also allows districts to adopt a salary schedule that provides additional compensation for high ratings under .

“This legislation will drive improved student achievement through bold and sensible education reform,” Coffee said. “In addition, SB 2033 provides the foundation for a very competitive second round Race to the Top application for $175 million in federal funds that would support high leverage strategies to improve Oklahoma schools.”

“This legislation will help Oklahoma students compete in a constantly-expanding global marketplace. Private and public education partnerships have developed through the crafting of this legislation that will help move our state to the next academic level,” Benge said. “Passage of this historic reform is proof that our state is serious about improving and investing in education.”

What other leaders are saying:

“All of Oklahoma’s efforts are focused on the foundation built by Gov. Henry to ensure more Oklahoma students graduate from high school and are college and career ready. This legislation ensures teachers and principals receive rapid-time feedback on student growth, which enables us to move to a data-driven environment and allows us to take actions to provide the best education for our students.”
-Kathy Taylor, governor’s education adviser

“While several states have made terrific strides forward this year, SB 2033 is, to me, the strongest education legislation passed in the country to date. This education reform legislation is a historic, timely and urgently needed step forward for students in Oklahoma, and it’s a shining example of Republicans and Democrats putting partisanship aside and coming together around what works.” – Jonah Edelman, , Stand for Children

“Oklahoma is currently faced with a unique opportunity. There is nearly a universal understanding that we face major challenges in our education system, and we can overcome them. There is a wave of innovation sweeping the nation for those bold enough to reach for it. SB 2033 is bold, but more importantly it is smart, it is right. It will lift teachers, it will lift principals and it will lift our state and country.” – Ken Levit, executive director, George Kaiser Family Foundation

“The time is now to make permanent changes to public education in Oklahoma. The innovative measures contained in SB 2033 will align our educational institutions to ensure a first-rate experience for all students in Oklahoma. I applaud the efforts of Gov. Henry and the Legislature, and I thank them for making education reform a key priority this session.” – Bob Ross, president and , Inasmuch Foundation and chairman, Oklahoma City Educare

“This ambitious bill shows Oklahoma is serious about improving classroom instruction and treating teachers like the professionals they are. By overhauling teacher and school leader evaluations, the state will give educators the feedback they need to reach their full potential and ensure all students learn. These reforms put Oklahoma among a handful of states leading the pack on improving educator effectiveness.” – Tim Daly, president, The New Teacher Project, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on educator effectiveness.

Updated 05-27-2010

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