OSDE Rule Changes Move Forward In The Approval Process, Democrats Call It 'Stacking The Deck Against Kids'

The state House is moving forward with the approval process for dozens of rule changes proposed by the State Department of Education. While the rules are advancing, they had a lot of pushback from House Democrats. 

Tuesday, May 14th 2024, 6:15 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


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The state House is moving forward with the approval process for dozens of rule changes proposed by the State Department of Education. While the rules are advancing, they had a lot of pushback from House Democrats. 

“We want to continue to push for change,” said State Superintendent Ryan Walters. “We want Oklahoma to be a leader in education and that means we have to continue to challenge a status quo that got us to 49th and I think all these rules are gonna put us on the right path.”

State lawmakers say OSDE proposed 53 rule changes this year alone.

“Enough already, if we want to improve, where are the resources to help us improve instead of leading with a hammer?,” questioned Rep. Melissa Provenzano, (D-Tulsa).

Most of the changes deal with prayer in public schools, accreditation changes, and DEI. Eleven attempts from house democrats to amend the rules all failed. “It's just stacking the deck against kids, it's stacking the deck against schools, it's stacking the deck against parents; with intention,” said Rep. Provenzano. 

“We hear that from Democrats it's unfortunate because our rule changes are all very common sense and should not be a partisan issue,” said Walters. 

The amendment attempts all came from Rep. Melissa Provenzano and Rep. Amanda Swope, both from Tulsa. They say they wanted to curb the changes to the state's accreditation system, and were concerned about tying test scores to accreditation status. “The superintendent is trying to strip accreditation away from schools, just a little bit, a nibble at a time,” said Rep. Provenzano.

Other attempted changes were challenging what democrats called “unnecessary rule changes.”   

“That would be one that was specifically for violations of policy not offering a moment of silence for prayer in school, that's an authority that we already give the Attorney General an authority to act on in Oklahoma, it’s not typically tied to whether or not a school is accredited in Oklahoma,” said Rep. Amanda Swope (D-Tulsa).

Chairman Gerrid Kendrix (R-Atlus) says the passage of the rules came down to three things: did OSDE have statutory authority, did they follow the proper process, and are they meeting the intent of current law? 

“And so that's what we looked at. I believe that they did on the vast majority of those rules and so that's why we passed it the way that we did,” said Rep. Kendrix. 

The rules will now move to the full house for consideration, and if they are passed they will move to the senate, and finally the governor. All of those steps have to be completed by May 31st. 

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