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Hofmeister Advocates For More Local Control In 'No Child Left Behind' Replacement

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister testifies Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.
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State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister testifies Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister went to Washington on Wednesday to testify before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.

Last year President Obama signed a replacement for the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which starts in the 2016/2017 school year.

Lawmakers wanted to know what teachers and administrators need from the U.S. Department of Education as the law goes into effect, and Hofmeister said local control is key.

“Hold us accountable for results for kids, but don't tell us how we achieve that,” Hofmeister said. “We know at the state level as leaders what works best in our own states, and we share the goal of having every one of our children ready for their next steps in learning."

In a brief interview Wednesday with The Oklahoman's Washington bureau chief Chris Casteel, Hofmeister said the state's budget crisis could lead to larger classes, fewer teachers, and the elimination of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses:

“We are in free fall economically. “And it's hard to imagine a scenario where kids are not going to suffer because of the cuts to this current semester. “With budgets already set, with services provided and invoices that have to be paid, there are very little margins for where you make those cuts. And it's going to be cuts that often involve rigorous, more advanced course work that are electives, not part of the core graduation requirements.”

Hofmeister also said the Oklahoma State Department of Education is still coming up with state-level standards to take the place of federal Common Core requirements lawmakers repealed in 2014.

From Casteel:

“Standards don't just change like a light switch being clicked on,” she said. “You have to work to bridge that gap between where we are and where we need to go. And that work is done through professional development of teachers. We need the time to be able to do that.”

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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