Oklahoma Education Leaders, Lawmakers Optimistic About No Child Left Behind Replacement

Dec 10, 2015

Education officials around the state are praising Congress for approving the Every Student Succeeds Act that President Obama signed into law Thursday after it passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister the law will give Oklahoma education stakeholders the authority and responsibility over their schools they have long sought. Hofmeister also says the new law will strengthen Oklahoma’s control over teacher evaluations, assessments, and accountability.

The superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, Rob Neu, also released a statement applauding the Congressional action. He said this new law will help students and schools improve while reducing the burden of high-stakes testing.

Both of Oklahoma's U.S. Senators voted for the bill, and U.S. Sen. James Lankford says the measure would return significant control over school accountability and testing to the states.

“It also consolidates 49 different programs within the Department of Education,” Lankford said in a video statement Wednesday. “Now, I would tell you, there are multiple other programs that need to be consolidated, and this goes only part way to be able to do that. But this is a big step forward.”

The bill would continue federally mandated reading and math exams in grades three to eight and once in high school, but the high stakes associated with those exams for underperforming schools would be diminished.

States would be encouraged to set caps on overall testing. States and local districts would be able to determine how to assess school and teacher performance.

The measure would replace the No Child Left Behind law of 2002.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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