Henry signs school measure boosting ‘race to the top’ grant application
CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Gov. Brad Henry today (Friday, May 28) signed Senate Bill 2033, by Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee and Speaker of the House Chris Benge. The legislative leaders and the governor contend the bill will strengthen Oklahoma schools and bolsters Oklahoma’s application in the “Race to the Top” grant competition.
“We have made great strides in improving education in Oklahoma, and this legislation marks one more step forward in recognizing our best and brightest teachers and giving them the tools they need to help our students excel,” Gov. Henry said in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK.
“The Race to the Top grant competition offers a remarkable opportunity for Oklahoma to implement bold reforms that will help our children, and our state, to succeed and prosper. I would like to thank Kathy Taylor, Superintendent Sandy Garrett, Pro Tem Coffee and Speaker Benge for all their hard work in crafting these vital educational reforms,” Henry said.
Reforms approved in this legislation include optional teacher incentive pay for districts; implementation of a state teacher evaluation system; and establishment of an Oklahoma “Race to the Top” Commission consisting of education stakeholders from throughout the educational system.
S.B. 2033 addresses schools consistently listed as low-achieving for improvement methods; and allows for dismissal for principals and teachers deemed ineffective via due process.
Coffee and Benge touted S.B. 2033 when it cleared the legislative process earlier this week. In a post-session interview with reporters on Friday evening, the departing president pro temp, the first Republican in state history to hold the top Senate job, pointed to sweeping education reform as one of his proudest achievements at the state Capitol.
Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report