Legislators pack last day of session; pass common core repeal
At the Capitol: fierce debate on the future of Oklahoma education.House Bill 3399 would repeal Common Core, and replace it with standards set by the state.Jenni White, a parent from Luther, says local is always better.Parents are the closest to their kids, they're always going to know what's best for their kids," White said. "The next closest are the teachers. So as long as the parents and teachers can be talking together we have a winning team and we can produce really great educational results."But opponents of the bill say there are dangerous results of the bill that may not be obvious.Not following Common Core standards could result in losing a waiver from the "No Child Left Behind" act.Losing that waiver could mean the loss of control over $27 million dollars in federal money, and if a school is consistently listed as "failing" the school could be forced to fire staff or shut down."It is absolutely wrong to tell your local districts that you can not do what you've been doing for four years you have to go back to what you were doing five years ago, regardless of what you think it best for your students," said Senator John Ford of Bartlesville.Senator Josh Brecheen says decisions about what kids learn from should be made with local values in mind. He read graphic passages from a book on the Common Core suggested reading list. "Can't read it on the floor of the Senate, but we'll let it in our classrooms," Brecheen said.Governor Mary Fallin said she hadn't made a decision about whether or not she'd sign it, but had issued an executive order moving Oklahoma education standards away from Common Core.Other bills of note: HJR1092 would allow school districts to exceed its bond capacity in order to build storm shelters. It failed originally on Thursday, then passed after reconsideration. It died outright on the Senate floor Friday."I went down fighting for storm shelters in Oklahoma and I thought it was the right thing to do to allow the people of Oklahoma the opportunity to vote on storm shelters," Fallin said.A measure to pay for Capitol repairs passed the Senate Friday. It will now likely be signed by the governor.No action was taken on funding the Native American cultural center. It costs $60,000 a month to secure and maintain. It's empty and incomplete and currently has no funding to complete construction.