"We can no longer continue to ignore the facts. Oklahoma is ranked among the bottom five states in the nation in education and, if passed, SB 1111 would have provided the most far-reaching education reform in Oklahoma since the mandates of House Bill 1017 in 1991.” House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, said an independent office is needed to improve the testing and accountability of the state’s public schools. "More of the same is not good enough and hasn’t been for quite some time.” Henry said it’s important for the state to improve its testing, "but I wasn’t convinced that simply shifting those functions from one agency to another did anything to reform or improve our public schools.” We would have created another arm of bureaucracy and asked taxpayers to pay for it without any assurances or evidence that it would yield progress.” In his veto message, Henry criticized SB 1111 because it transferred appointing authority from the executive branch to the legislative branch, an action in conflict with the constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.
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AT A GLANCEWhat would The measure have done? The measure would have moved the Office of Accountability and its 20 employees out of the Education Department and would have authorized it to oversee education standards, testing and data gathering. The office would have been governed by a board appointed by the governor, the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore. No member would have been an elected official. The chairman would have been the governor’s secretary of education, unless that person was the state schools superintendent.