Today the Oklahoma State Board of Education had a special meeting. It was the first virtual meeting of the board ever, and the board voted on multiple policy changes, both temporary and permanent.
The main vote of interest was the board’s decision to amend their order to shutdown public school buildings statewide. (Read the amended order here.)
The Oklahoma State Department of Education will release a distance learning framework, guidance, and resources this Friday. We look forward to knowing more at that point.
OEA President Alicia Priest responds to the new order:
“Oklahoma teachers are dedicated to our students. We will do whatever it takes to educate them, just like we do every day. We thank Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and the members of the State Board of Education. Students, parents, teachers and local school boards will have to work together to make the end of this school year as robust as possible. The situation is not ideal, but Oklahoma teachers and support professionals are used to making do. We are creative, determined, and strong. Public schools have overcome before. We will overcome now.”
Response to other board votes:
The board will allow emergency certified teachers who are coming to the end of their second year can now apply for a third year of emergency certification. The current rules only allow two years. “We understand the need for emergency teachers, especially during a global pandemic. This underlines that the teacher shortage is still very real and is its own emergency that Oklahoma must deal with.”
The board voted to give districts flexibility with textbook funds. “Districts will have new expenses that no one could have budgeted for a year ago. This flexibility will allow schools to serve their students.”
The board voted to lift state requirements for hours in a school day and hours/days in a school year. “School districts are going to have to figure out what school looks like now, and that will be different across the state. We appreciate the board trusting school leaders to do their best in these extraordinary times.”