Oklahoma Department of Education

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Shortly after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged Governor Kevin Stitt to spend federal relief funds on private school vouchers, Oklahoma’s top education official touted a different idea.

A group of rural Oklahoma lawmakers are asking the State Department of Education to reconsider rules they say would end four-day school weeks.

The 16 Republican representatives are calling on the state to make a waiver that would allow for shorter school calendars more attainable.

Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, is leading the charge. In a statement, she said four-day school weeks are important for keeping rural school districts afloat.

Feliphe Schiarolli / Unsplash

School has shifted to distance learning for the rest of this academic year. And it’s too soon to say if in-person classes at Oklahoma schools will be back in session next fall.  But State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says educators are working carefully to prepare for any educational scenario in the fall.

"That work has just begun, but it will address many scenarios," Hofmeister said.

Though it’s unclear what school will look like, recent graduates and others will be able to teach in Oklahoma in fall 2020.

The state school board voted to unanimously allow a one-time, single year certification for people who were on track to get their certification. Typical certification procedures were halted because teaching candidates couldn’t finish student teaching or take some final required tests.

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The Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting came to a halt Thursday, following a five minute disruption filled with sexist and racist slurs from unknown intruders, or so-called 'Zoombombers'.

After the pause, the department booted the offending members from the Zoom teleconference call and suspended comment in a chat box.

Following the meeting, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said she was disappointed in the disruption, but it was just a difficult fact of life.

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

With schools shuttered due to COVID-19, many Oklahoma school districts are pivoting to the internet for instruction.

Oklahoma students will be able to get two free meals a day, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture waiver granted to the state Monday.

The USDA waived a requirement that districts can provide free meals only if half of its students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Joy Hofmeister wants the internet in the home of every Oklahoma student.

In an interview Monday, she said the COVID-19 closures have exposed an equity gap between students who have home internet access and those who don’t.

“I want every one of our Oklahoma students to have access to a computer and internet access at home,” she said. “And I won’t rest until that’s done.”

About a third of people in Oklahoma lack access to broadband.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about Governor Stitt's "Safer at Home" policy to curb the outbreak of COVID-19, a US Department of Labor email asking local employment agencies to limit the amount of information released to the public and the State Health Department is withholding much needed medical supplies pending an audit.

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Oklahoma schools will remain shuttered for the spring 2020 semester to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to close schools and implement a distance education program.

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