Reading Sufficiency Act

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Sam Keiper fidgeted in his chair in front of a classroom full of Oklahoma teachers.

Today, it was his job to educate teachers at Tulsa Tech, as part of a workshop put on by the State Department of Education for Oklahoma and advocate group Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma.

“I wanted to give a face to dyslexia, what it looks like,” Keiper said. “It can look like anybody in the room. I really wanted to inspire teachers to go get further education about dyslexia.”

Oklahoma State Department of Education

The State Department of Education is asking lawmakers to increase education funding by a total of $440 million next year.

Included in the agency’s budget proposal for the 2019-2020 public school year is a request for an additional $273 million to help school districts hire more teachers and reduce class sizes.

U.S. Department of Education

Oklahoma's third grade reading test is a high stakes test.

If a child fails it, and they don't meet a certain exception, they get held back.

However, for the past couple of years, lawmakers have allowed parents and teachers to consider other academic performance data when determining whether or not to retain a kid who failed the test.

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved several education related bills, including measures that address teacher pay, teacher recruitment, and the reduction of administrative costs, among other issues. These bills will now go to the House for consideration. 

 

Here's a list of the education-related bills passed out of the Senate on Wednesday:

U.S. Department of Education

Is the state’s third grade reading test taking attention away from other subjects? Test data suggests it could be. When legislators amended the Reading Sufficiency Act in 2011—they made the test a high stakes test. As a result, many teachers overly emphasize reading in the younger grades because they’re scared their students will fail, and get held back. 

When lawmakers amended the Reading Sufficiency Act, they wanted to ensure that all kids could read on grade level by the third grade. They said this is when kids switch from learning to read, to reading to learn.

Governor Mary Fallin signed a slew of education bills on Wednesday, aiming to improve education in the state. Here’s a run-down of four of them.

SENATE BILL 630

Probably the most talked about piece of legislation was Senate Bill 630. This bill deals with the Reading Sufficiency Act and the third grade reading test that students must pass before they can move on to the fourth grade.

Under the RSA, third graders that do poorly on the test can be automatically held back if they don’t meet an exemption.

Emily Wendler

One way or another, the third grade reading test will be different next school year. The reading committees that lessen the high-stakes nature of the test are slated to dissolve at the end of this school year. But there's a bill in the legislature that could extend them for another three years. However, with that bill comes further changes to the test.

Under Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act, the third-grade reading test is a high-stakes test. Meaning, if students don’t do well, they could be held back.