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Academic Standards Approved, But Not Without One Final Battle


Oklahoma’s new academic standards passed through the legislature and are now officially in effect.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the next step is helping schools implement the new standards in their classrooms.

“Our teachers, our schools, and our districts, have been waiting. And the real work begins now,” she said.

Hofmeister said the State Department of Education will now help districts create book lists, and math materials to go along with the English Language Arts and math standards. The department will also develop training programs to help teachers grasp how the new standards are different from the old ones.

Over the past few weeks, Hofmeister pushed the legislature to pass the standards as quickly as possible, so schools could begin these next steps. Schools will begin using the standards this coming year and the Superintendent said they needed as much time as possible to get ready.

However, legislators spent a lot of time debating whether the standards are rigorous enough, too vague, and need more work. In the end legislators let them pass without requiring any changes, and Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman was not happy about this. He wanted to see revisions before they went in to effect.  

“We are incredibly disappointed that has not happened,” he said. “Our hope is the State Board of Education will make those final finishing touches, and send them back for review so they don’t find themselves in a legal challenge by sending standards to the schools that are different than what they sent this legislature for consideration.”

The State Department of Education responded by saying the standards have been vetted multiple times, and the final product is a set of excellent standards written by Oklahomans for Oklahomans.

“I support the standards, they are exactly what we need, and they are not Common Core,” Hofmeister said.

She said the department does not plan on making any changes.

Emily Wendler was KOSU's education reporter from 2015 to 2019.
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