OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 20, 2017) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today praised state legislators for moving along several measures aimed at strengthening education.
The House Education Committee approved House Bill 2155 to better prepare students for the challenges of college and the workplace through the use of Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAPs). Oklahoma is one of only a handful of states to not currently have a statewide individual academic plan for students. ICAPs establish personalized academic and career goals, explore postsecondary and educational opportunities, and align coursework and curriculum to the goal.
Authored by state Rep. Jadine Nollan, HB 2155 would phase in ICAPs over a three-year period and become a graduation requirement beginning for ninth-graders in the 2019-2020 school year.
“This is where students' aspirations and dreams take shape into a well-developed, written plan that will get there where they need to be to achieve their goals,” said Hofmeister.
She also lauded two different measures aimed at preserving the parent-teacher committees that are part of the state’s Reading Sufficiency Act, better known as RSA.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a five-year extension of student reading proficiency teams that assist in determining whether a third-grader should advance to fourth grade with targeted reading intervention or be retained. That legislation, SB 84, is authored by Sen. Michael Bergstrom. In the afternoon, House Education Committee members approved HB 1760, authored by Rep. Katie Henke, to make the committees a permanent fixture for RSA.
“The RSA has had a positive impact improving reading proficiency and ensuring that struggling readers receive intensive reading intervention,” said Hofmeister. “A key component of RSA’s effectiveness has been the inclusion of the student’s own parents and teacher who know best his or her abilities and needs. I appreciate the commitment of these lawmakers in strengthening the voice and engagement of families in their children’s education.”
Moreover, the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee approved SB 428, which is designed to curb Oklahoma’s teacher shortage by making it easier for a retired teacher to return to the classroom. Authored by Sen. Jason Smalley, the bill enables a teacher who has been retired for a year to return to teaching with no caps on earnings while continuing to receive retirement benefits instead of waiting the currently required three years.
“Amid an unprecedented teacher shortage, our schools need more ways, not fewer, to get strong educators into our classrooms,” Hofmeister said. “SB 428 is a sensible measure that paves the way for recently retired teachers to do what they do best. Our schoolchildren deserve no less.”