Superintendent Barresi praises House move to end social promotion

Oklahoma state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi praised passage of Senate Bill 346 by the Oklahoma House today (Thursday, April 14). In a release sent to CapitolBeatOK today, she pointed out the measure’s language incorporates a key reform in the 3R Agenda she unveiled recently.

 S.B. 346, authored by two Republican legislators — state Sen. Clark Jolley of Edmond and State Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City — will end social promotion after the third grade for children who can’t read at proficient levels. The legislation passed the Oklahoma House 59-34 and now returns to the Senate.  

 “This crucial reform is now one step away from Governor Fallin’s desk,” said Barresi. “A major part of this reform is early intervention, so that we can identify problems and help educators adopt individualized learning strategies with children in pre-K and kindergarten. Children make an important shift in learning after the third grade. If they aren’t prepared they fall significantly behind and grow increasingly frustrated.”

 S.B. 346 is a key component of the 3R Agenda, a comprehensive policy platform to rethink, restructure and reform Oklahoma’s education system. More information on the 3R Agenda can be found on the State Department of Education’s home page at

 Barresi pointed out that once S.B. 346 becomes law, Oklahoma will begin a three-year process before it completely takes effect, providing educators across the state time to implement it. 

 Barresi said House passage S.B. 346 was underscored by the release of a new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that found that students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma compared to proficient readers.

 “This reform is not about ‘hitting the panic button’ in the third grade or punishing children. It’s about helping children succeed,” said Barresi. “We cannot abandon generations of children to a cycle of poverty brought on by high dropout rates. This reform draws a line in the sand to help children succeed in their most critical learning years, and it is an important first step.”