The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

March 27, 2013

Oklahoma House Democrats attack proposed education changes

OKLAHOMA CITY — Proposed changes in the Oklahoma Department of Education's rules certainly look alarming, apparently revoking standards for every subject, be it high school art or first-grade history.

The department told The Associated Press Wednesday looks were deceiving and the changes a harmless, bureaucratic quirk, but members of the House vehemently condemned the proposed changes during a press conference at the Capitol, saying they're an attempt to wrest the state's academic control from the Legislature. The chairman of the House Democratic caucus, Rep. Jerry McPeak of Warner, called the proposed changes a "dictatorship" and "autocracy."

"It's an attempt to take complete and total control of public education by one entity," said Rep. Curtis McDaniel, D-Smithville. "What's the benefit of leaving us out of the approval process? The answer's control."

A Department of Education spokeswoman told the AP the proposal is simply meant to streamline routine changes to curriculum by taking those standards out of the department's rules of operation.

"We're not revoking our academic standards," said spokeswoman Sherry Fair, noting that the standards remain visible to the public on the department's website. "It's really just a procedural thing that we never really had to do."

Because standards for history, math and other subjects are currently among the rules, any curriculum adjustments must go through the Legislature. A routine change therefore becomes a drawn-out process requiring time and hundreds of printed pages for all the committees involved, Fair said.

But the department doesn't have to do all of that, Fair said. Oklahoma law gives the department the sole authority to adjust standards every so often.

So the department has proposed taking the standards out of its rules and setting up a committee of professionals and community members to specifically oversee standards changes.

For any of that to happen, these proposed changes must be approved by the State Board of Education at its Thursday meeting. They then must be approved by the Legislature.

Representatives said the proposed standards committee was an attempt to replace them without accountability.

"The legislative role is to provide that input," said Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum. "Maybe that voice of my constituents will be lost if certain rules are made and put into place."

Fair said the department had reached out to members of the House and Senate about the misunderstanding.

But at House members' press conference Wednesday, Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne, said: "This is something we're going to look at. It's usually not my job to reach out to agencies."

 

1
Text Only
National and world
  • APTOPIX Hospital Shoo_Hass.jpg Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    A psychiatric patient ranted about a hospital gun ban before opening fire at the suburban medical complex, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 25, 2014

  • g000258000000000000245c0063741aaafcc815c5b3199362fb09f8a7c3.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    
Gibson called Diamond City Hall for help but the police chief was out on another call. The city clerk came to join in the surveillance ...

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Severe Weather web.jpg Tornado slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

    A couple from New Jersey was killed when a tree fell on their tent. Their 13-year-old son, in a tent next to them, had life-threatening injuries.
    He was among three dozen people hurt.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Aviations Bad Week web.jpg Bad week for aviation: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    Industry analysts and safety experts shake their heads at the seeming randomness of the tragedies, saying they can find no common themes. Nor do they think the events indicate that flying is suddenly becoming less safe.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama Economic Patriotism web.jpg Obama wants limits on mergers abroad by U.S. companies

    “They’re technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship. They’re declaring they are based someplace else even though most of their operations are here,” Obama said at a technical college in Los Angeles. “You know, some people are calling these companies corporate deserters.”
    He also charged that such companies are “cherry-picking the rules.”

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona Execution web.jpg As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

    Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan read a statement Thursday outside his office dismissing the notion the execution was botched, calling it an “erroneous conclusion” and “pure conjecture.” He said IVs in the inmate’s arms were “perfectly placed” and insisted that Wood felt no pain.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economic Recovery web.jpg U.S. economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

    • Inflation is under control. Runaway price increases would be destructive. Low inflation can lay a foundation for growth.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

    A Palestinian health official put the death toll at 695 and said more than 4,100 were wounded, with civilian casualties rising sharply since Israel sent tanks and troops into Gaza last week in its first ground operation in five years.
    Israel has not offered its own count, but Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said Wednesday that 210 Gaza militants were killed since the ground operation began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oil Train Fires web.jpg Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

    Accident investigators have complained for decades that older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents when derailed. Since 2008, there have been 10 significant derailments in the U.S. and Canada in which crude oil has spilled from ruptured tank cars, often igniting and resulting in huge fireballs. The worst was a runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic a year ago, killing 47 people.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads