OKLAHOMA CITY (May 22, 2020) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said the passage of five bills this legislative session will have a positive and meaningful impact strengthening student supports and improving transparency in education. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed all five bills earlier this week.
“Taken together, these new laws will help push education forward and provide desperately needed supports,” Hofmeister said. “In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, our schools do not lack for challenges, but these measures will help ensure we maintain focus on all of Oklahoma’s more than 700,000 public school students.”
State lawmakers filed more than 2,300 bills for the 2020 legislative session. The following were among those passed into law.
House Bill 2804requires schools to screen kindergarten through third-grade students for dyslexia if they are not reading on grade level at the beginning of the school year. Dyslexia screening will begin in the 2022-23 school year. The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will have until 2021 to develop the screening process. HB 2804 was authored by Rep. Mike Sanders and Sen. Stephanie Bice.
House Bill 2905, also known as the Virtual Charter School Reform and Transparency Act, was authored by Rep. Sheila Dills and Sen. Dewayne Pemberton. Changes to instructional activities, truancy and a required student orientation will go into effect next school year. The OSDE will work to implement changes to the virtual charter school transfer process by 2021-22.
Authored by Rep. Tammy West and Sen. Gary Stanislawski,House Bill 3466requires the State Textbook Committee to use a three-tiered rubric when reviewing materials to be approved for the state list. The committee will be required to provide comments and/or justification for the rating given to each item and to share the rubrics with districts. HB 3466goes into effect Nov. 1.
“By improving transparency and efficiency in the adoption process for new textbooks, Oklahoma can betterensure teachers have high-quality instructional materials for every child they serve,” Hofmeister said.
Senate Bill 212, authored by Stanislawski and Rep. Rhonda Baker,requires the initial allocation of state aid for statewide virtual charter schools to be calculated like that of all other schools, rather than using a weight of 1.333 for all virtual students enrolled as of Aug. 1.
Senate Bill 1436creates a new micro-credential for special education teachers already certified in mild-moderate disabilities to become certified in severe-profound disabilities andallows the State Board of Education to issue a two-year provisional certificate as teachers work to complete the credential. SB 1436, which was authored by Stanislawski and Rep. Nicole Miller, also creates a new certification in the area of comprehensive special education.