Coffee makes major education reform push

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 25-May-2010

Senators on both sides of the aisle today (Tuesday, May 25)  supported President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee’s Senate Bill 2033. A release from his office said the bill will provide “even more opportunities for Oklahoma students to learn and excel.”  SB 2033 passed with a bipartisan 37-10 majority.

The bill makes some major reforms in state educational policy and also could position the public education system to compete in the “Race to the Top” competition touted by federal officials.

Reforms approved in this legislation include:

•                Optional teacher incentive pay for districts

•                Implementation of an Oklahoma teacher evaluation system

•                Establishment of an Oklahoma “Race to the Top” Commission consisting of education stakeholders from throughout the educational system

•                Addresses schools consistently listed as low-achieving for improvement methods

•                Allows for dismissal for principals and teachers deemed ineffective via due process

Coffee’s release said S.B. 2033 “is full of forward thinking reforms designed to provide structure and accountability in Oklahoma’s efforts to provide a quality education system that challenges students and prepares them to enter an ever-changing, fast-paced global workforce.”

In a prepared statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Coffee, an Oklahoma City Republican, said, “Oklahoma approaches a turning point in history where we can choose to make a difference in the lives of future generations, or choose to settle for status quo. With the passage of Senate Bill 2033 today, my hope is that the Governor will join us in embarking on this challenging, yet rewarding journey that will give Oklahoma students the opportunity to make an even greater impact in our state, nation and world.”

S. B. 2033 now heads to the full House for consideration.