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Where We Stand on Important 2020 Education Bills

OEA Position Rationale on Education Bills from 2020 Session

 HB 1229 (Rep. Mark McBride) Virtual Charter School Accountability

  • Eliminates the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board and transfers the duties to the Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability.
  • For several years, the legislators have worked on increasing the level of oversight of virtual charter schools. Virtual charter schools, such as Epic, are under investigation for embezzlement and fraud.
  • Appoints the Secretary of Education as the chair of the Commission.

OEA supports HB1229 because we believe virtual schools need more accountability than the current Statewide Virtual Charter School Board has provided.   

HB 2905 (Rep. Shelia Dills) Virtual Charter School Accountability

  • Students will be allowed to apply for an open transfer from their resident district to a virtual school only once per school year.
  • Increases the number of assignments per quarter from 40 to 72 and redefines what assignments are.
  • Defines truancy as 15 school days with no assignment completions. Students who are truant twice are permanently dropped for the year, and the resident district must be notified.
  • Students will be required to enroll in their home district and ask for a transfer to a virtual charter school. The goal is to track students through the process.

OEA supports HB2905 because, currently, there are problems related to student churn between virtual charter schools and public schools. This revolving door places a burden on public schools that may have to catch students up or recover credit hours when they return. Epic allows year-round enrollment and has one of the highest rates of part-year students in the state.  Also, Increasing and defining assignments helps elevate the curriculum.

SB 212 (Senator Gary Stanislawski) Changes Midterm Funding Adjustments

  • Virtual students would be weighted at 1.00 and then adjusted at midterm, currently, they are weighted at 1.33.
  • Traditional public schools provide additional support such as transportation, food and physical building space and should be weighted more than virtual students.

OEA supports SB212 because we believe this bill would result in less disruption to districts as a result of midterm adjustments. 

SB 1313 (Senator Dewayne Pemberton) Charter School Authorization

  • Directs the State Board of Education to only sponsor a charter school where a charter applicant has met every criterion required in the law.

OEA supports SB1313 because this bill addresses the problem of the SBE overriding local school boards on charter decisions when a charter’s application fails to meet the basic requirements for authorization. 

HB 3257 (Rep. Jadine Nollan) Redefines Instructional Expenditure

  • The bill broadens the definition of instructional expenditures to include more costs that directly benefit our students, such as librarians, teaching aides, instructional coaches, and curriculum development.
  • The goal is to align our definition of expenses with the National Center for Education Statistics.

OEA supports HB3257 because the current definition often creates confusion and controversy in school spending discussions.  We also believe it will result in more transparency and consistency of expenditure coding.

HB 3968 (Rep. Mark McBride) Higher Education

  • Authorizes additional bonding capacity to the state regents to meet the state’s overdue obligation to provide matching funds for endowed chair positions.

OEA supports HB3968 because we believe the state has an obligation to fulfill their past agreement.  Furthermore, we support increased funding for higher education. 

HB 1230 (Rep. Mark McBride) Vouchers

  • Requires the State Department of Education to share data about the Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarship voucher program, including financial numbers, nonidentifying student data, and information about the private schools receiving the funds.

OEA supports HB1230 because we believe the state should be able to account for these taxpayer dollars. 

SB 9 (Sen. J.J Dossett) Standardized Testing

  • This removes the last non-federally mandated test from the required state tests.

OEA supports SB9 because a test is not required to teach a quality curriculum, and this will save our state millions of dollars.

HB 3350 (Rep. Avery Frix) Cost of Living Adjustment

  • Provides a 2 percent COLA for those public retirees who have been retired between two and five years and a 4 percent COLA for those who have been retired more than five years.

OEA supports HB3350 because our retirees have not had an adjustment to their pensions in over a decade and their expenses have continued to rise with inflation and health insurance increases. 

HB 2794 (Rep. Jason Rosecrants) Play-based Instruction

  • This bill would encourage research-based professional development and developmentally appropriate play-based instruction in early childhood grades

OEA supports HB2794 because we support more developmentally appropriate instruction for our students.

SB 1253 (Sen. John Haste) Health Education Act

  • This will require our teachers to be provided with resources for our most at-risk students

OEA supports SB1253 because the standards for Health Education have not been updated in many years and is needed.  Also, our student population comes to us with very different challenges than they did years ago, and this act will better prepare our educators to meet the needs of our students.

HB 3382 (Rep. John Waldron) Student Loan Repayment

  • Creates the OK Teacher Loan Repayment Program, which will be in effect from 2020-21 to 2025-26. Provides education loan repayment awards of $4,000 to individuals who graduate after the law takes effect and are employed for an entire school year in an instructional or administrator capacity at a Title 1 school in Oklahoma (includes school nurses, counselors and librarians).
  • Recipients reapply for award each year of the program.

OEA supports HB3382 because we believe it will help our state to address one facet of the teacher shortage.  We have thousands of unqualified teachers and substitutes in our classrooms.  One reason for this is that we no longer have enough people entering our colleges of education to meet the needs of the growing student population. 

HB 3434 (Rep. Rhonda Baker) Teacher Certification

  • Creates a pathway for emergency certification to teach elementary or early childhood education
  • Requires certain college classes on a particular schedule and that corresponding certification tests be taken after completion of those classes

OEA supports HB3434 because it addresses the current lack of a pathway to this type of certification.  It also addresses a problem among emergency certified teachers of a lack of pedagogical preparation. 

HB 3966 (Rep. Mark McBride) National Board Certification

  • Reinstates the $5,000 stipend for NBCTs to be paid for ten years.
  • OEQA can provide up to 300 applicants up to $750 toward their renewal application fee.
  • Deletes the NBCT lane of the minimum salary schedule.

OEA supports HB3966 because we believe National Board Certification is the best professional development available and we need to bring back the stipend that rewards the incredible work that goes into getting this certification.

SB 1337 (Sen. Brenda Stanley) Due Process

  • This will allow an educator to keep their job while an investigation happens, so that they do not lose their job if/until found guilty

OEA supports SB1337 because it addresses an unfair practice currently in law where a teacher under investigation loses their job and is subsequently found to have not committed any misconduct. 

HB 4029 (Rep. Charles McCall) HB 3994 (Rep. Harold Wright) SB 1445 (Sen. Brenda Stanley) Teacher Shortage

  • All three of these bills address the issue of retirees being able to collect their retirement, return to teaching, and not be paid less than their colleagues.

OEA supports these bills because we need certified teachers in our classrooms and bringing back retirees to the profession is one solution to address some of the teacher shortage.