Share “Academic standards require better process...”

Academic standards require better process than Oklahoma lawmakers proposing

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: May 29, 2014

FEW people deny that Oklahoma’s education system faces many challenges. But until now, no one claimed the solution was to put politicians in direct charge of writing academic standards for public schools. Yet that’s what a bill approved on the final day of the legislative session endorses.

This is the latest, and goofiest, development to come out of efforts to repeal Common Core academic standards in Oklahoma. Under the final provisions of House Bill 3399, the state Board of Education would be required to adopt new academic standards in language and math by Aug. 1, 2016, after consulting with a wide range of experts. However, the legislation exempts adoption of those academic standards from the state’s Administrative Procedures Act. That law allows legislative review of agency rules, but typically requires lawmakers to simply accept or reject rules.

Instead of using that longstanding practice, House Bill 3399 would make academic standards “subject to legislative review” in a separate process. Under the bill, state lawmakers would adopt a joint resolution to “approve the standards, disapprove the standards in whole or in part, amend the standards in whole or in part or disapprove the standards in whole or in part with instructions to the State Board of Education …” (emphasis added).

In short, the state Board of Education can develop new standards with the input of experts, parents and other affected groups — but then state lawmakers can arbitrarily and unilaterally rewrite those standards at will.

While it’s impossible to completely remove politics from any process involving state government entities, HB 3399 would place the development of academic standards entirely in the political arena. Rather than having education officials guide the process, standards could effectively be written entirely by politicians possessing little or no relevant expertise. Academic standards potentially would be based on which groups lobbied lawmakers the most intensely and gave the most campaign cash, not on what’s best for Oklahoma students.

Continue reading this story on the...

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
+ show more


  1. 1
    Where does OU rank among college football's running back units?
  2. 2
    The best jobs for every personality type
  3. 3
    Lankford: Changing Washington 'takes strong families, strong churches and strong communities'
  4. 4
    Trial delayed for former sheriff's deputy charged with sexual battery
  5. 5
    County Commissioner booked on new charges; discussion on ouster set for Monday
+ show more


× Trending opinion Article