2019 Oklahoma House Interim Studies Announced

July 23, 2019

Speaker Charles McCall recently announced which interim studies were approved for further study by the Oklahoma House of Representatives this year.

State representatives requested 145 interim studies this summer, and about two-thirds of them were approved.

The following are studies of interest to public education in Oklahoma. The study descriptions are verbatim from the lawmakers’ requests.

1017 reforms, requested by Rep. Chad Caldwell (R-Enid)

Explore the various 1017 reforms: what were they, where do they currently stand, and were/are they effective? (Interim Study No. 19-145)

A-F school report cards, requested by Rep. Toni Hasenbeck (R-Elgin)

The purpose of this study is to look into how the new parameters of the test will effect the Students and the individual schools they attend. An in-depth look at the specifics of the new Report Card and especially the projected outcomes of demographic groups will provide much needed data to make future spending decisions.  This will give us a chance to evaluate the the results and compare them with our budgetary allocations within our school systems.  The outcome of this study should outline a more targeted approach to spending and accountability.  The results of this inquiry could also be used to use direct targeting of funding of the Support of Teachers and Students fund in the OKSDE Budget. (Interim Study No. 19-105)

Activity funds, requested by Rep. Toni Hasenbeck (R-Elgin)

The intent  of this Interim Study is to investigate the Outcomes and Strategies of the Targeted spending in the Support of Students and Teachers Fund(School Activity Fund).  Our purpose is to discover  redundancies , gaps  and or lack of funding in areas that will have a deep impact on Student Outcomes for Oklahoma School Students.  This study will allow the legislature to discover the importance of providing the OKSDE the funds required to offer outreach and support of Teachers and Students across our State.  Ultimately this study will give us a greater understanding of funds spent and funds needed in the pursuit of educating  our future workforce. This study is designed to manage our tax dollars in the best manor within the EDUCATION BUDGET. (Interim Study No. 19-103)

Advanced Placement courses, requested by Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Mustang)

During this study, I would like to find out how many schools across our state currently do not offer AP courses, access to teachers/coursework via Skype, etc. for rural schools, the cost associated with offering these courses, training for teachers through the College Board, success rate of students that do take AP courses in college/career as well as the savings upon entering college with completed coursework.  I anticipate that the speakers for this study will include SDE as well as College Board associates that train teachers on the coursework.  Additionally, college administrators that can testify to the success rate of students that enter college with AP coursework versus those students that require remediation due to a lack of challenging coursework in high school. (Interim Study No. 19-063)

Alternative teacher certification, requested by Rep. Mark Lepak (R-Claremore)

Initiatives to fill the teacher pipeline shouldn’t depend on compensation alone, and should be geared towards recruiting the best qualified teachers for Oklahoma’s classrooms.  The general approach of this study is to:

  1. Review the four paths of teacher certification in OK
  2. Determine if there is a way to broaden the qualified candidate pool via revisions to “alternative certification”
  3. Review the use of the term “emergency certification” to determine if there is a more accurate way to categorize candidates at different stages of completing their certifications
  4. Review SDE teacher recruitment efforts

In the end, the intent is to bolster the opportunities to recruit excellent non-traditional teachers by improving the certification process, possibly making it less cumbersome and/or expensive, and to more accurately portray the pool of teacher candidates. (Interim Study No. 19-072)

Blended and virtual learning, by Rep. Derrel Fincher (R-Bartlesville)

Currently all schools are required to offer Supplemental Online Courses through the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program. In addition, more families are also looking for full-time virtual options or blended learning options for their children. However, schools face challenges in offering these options, including cost, supervision for younger students, and determining attendance.  This study will examine blended and virtual learning in public schools to gain an understanding of effectiveness, challenges schools face, and any policies changes we need to make this more effective. (Interim Study No. 19-131)

Charter school funding, requested by Rep. Zack Taylor, Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau), and Rep. Randy Randleman (R-Eufaula)

This study will look at how brick and mortar charter schools are funded in Oklahoma. (Interim Study No. 19-064)

To evaluate the resources and costs needed to provide a virtual student with the same education given to those at brick & mortar locations

  • Comparing the cost to determine if equivalent funding per student should be given to virtual vs. brick and mortar
  • Look at overall funding given to schools, by the state and the county/city and compare that with a verified ADM count to look at total budget vs. student count
  • Separating the cost of educating a student from the cost of providing the student with extracurricular

This study is done in conjunction with a study from Senator Ron Sharp (Interim Study No. 19-089)

Charter school oversight, requested by Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau) and Rep. Randy Randleman (R-Eufaula)

Looking at the entity in charge of oversight for the charter school and their due diligence to ensure the school fulfills their requirements

This study is done in conjunction with a study from Senator Ron Sharp (Interim Study No. 19-091)

Childhood obesity, requested by Rep. Danny Sterling (R-Tecumseh)

To address the alarming rate of childhood obesity and diabetes by exploring the need to create a measurement and assessment instrument to be utilized in Physical Education classes in our public schools. This would include a criterion-referenced standard specific to a student’s age and gender and based on the physical fitness level required for good health. (Interim Study No. 19-021)

Classroom discipline, requested by Rep. Jadine Nollan

“Best practices for disciplining violent outbursts/behavior in the classroom.” (Interim Study No. 19-009)

Cost-of-living adjustment for public retirees, requested by Rep. Avery Frix

Look at recently proposed legislation on COLA. (Interim Study No. 19-029)

Dyslexia funding, requested by Rep. Mike Sanders

No description provided. (Interim Study No. 19-003)

Formula funding for virtual charter schools, requested by Ronny Johns

Investigating how other states have Virtual Charter Schools on a different formula than their traditional brick and mortar schools. (Interim Study No. 19-041)

Health insurance costs, requested by Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia)

New ideas in health insurance coverage (group, individual, self-funded, and buying groups) New products and services (such as differences on coverage as well as cost)

(Interim Study No. 19-116)

Life skills education, requested by Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-Oklahoma City)

Analyzing the cost and benefits of requiring a basic life skills education class to be taught in public schools in the State of Oklahoma. (Interim Study No. 19-138)

Paid family leave, requested by Rep. Kelly Albright (D-Midwest City)

This interim study would examine paid family leave in Oklahoma. It would examine the cost vs savings of implementing universal paid family leave as well as the familial impact on working Oklahomans.  In addition, it would attempt to examine what our surrounding states and similarly situated states do. (Interim Study No. 19-059)

Motor vehicle tax collections, requested by Rep. Jadine Nollan

Review of Motor Vehicle Tax Collections, overpayments made to some school districts, underpayments made to other school districts, correction of the error, and method of payments to school districts in the future. (Interim Study No. 19-010)

School calendars, requested by Rep. Sherrie Conley (R-Newcastle)

The purpose of this study is to identify effective strategies and practices of school districts that have successfully implemented non-traditional school calendars in the state of Oklahoma. The information presented is intended to support a broader effort to develop Models for Educational Success for underperforming districts to replicate.

The study will focus on the following 5 Pillars of Success:

  1. Academic Achievement 
  2. Quality Teacher Retention 
  3. Financial Responsibility 
  4. Social & Community Impact 
  5. Economic Opportunity 

By developing Models for Educational Success, this study will provide a collection of effective tools of excellence for school districts wishing to keep or implement a non-traditional school calendar. This Model of Success will not only assist districts in developing a plan for achieving high standards of performance, but will also simultaneously support the State Department of Education and the legislative goals of holding districts accountable to students, educators, and communities. (Interim Study No. 19-030)

School choice, requested by Rep. Derrel Fincher (R-Bartlesville)

This study will investigate current family choice within the public-school system, and examine what policy options will increase choice, reduce the barriers for families, and support schools.

 Families currently have choices among districts, among charter schools (virtual and brick and mortar), within districts (schools and programs), and choices within schools and programs, including online options. Not all choices are available in all areas. 

Families also face barriers when trying to exercise a choice. A few of the barriers are: 

  • Lack of awareness or inaccurate information. Families cannot exercise choice if they are not aware that options exist or if they receive inaccurate information
  • Transportation. Whether choosing another physical school, a magnet school, charter school, or another district, parents and guardians are usually responsible for transportation. 
  • Child supervision. Virtual charter schools or other virtual programs may not provide supervision for the child, in which case families who are unable to arrange for a caregiver may not be able to exercise the option 
  • Special needs. Some programs may not be available to students with special needs, or the program may not be structured to accommodate certain requirements in IEP and 504 plans. 
  • Transfer requirements. Transfer requirements (open enrollment period versus emergency transfer) can make transferring difficult, particularly if the family believes the child is in crisis at the current school. 

The goal of the study is to examine the options and extent of the options families have, the extent to which families take advantage of the options, the challenges families face, and the challenges schools have in offering required options. (Interim Study No. 19-129)

Special education teacher training on early intervention, requested by Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) and Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa)

Review needs regarding policies for special needs students in Pre-K through 12th grade classes. (Interim Study No. 19-133)

Student loan debt, requested by Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) and Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa)

Working with local agencies, examine the student loan debt crisis in Oklahoma and work to propose possible legislation that will lead to fewer Oklahoma students with extreme student loan debt. Examine what other states have done to ease this burden.  Possible exploration of “Borrower’s bill of Rights” that looks similar to the documentation provided when applying for a credit card or securing a home loan – i.e. interest rates, lifetime of the loan and overall cost. (Interim Study No. 19-101)

The teacher pipeline, requested by Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) and Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa)

This study would examine the work of Oklahoma’s schools of education at preparing a pipeline of teachers for common education in our state, including:

  • Efforts at recruitment
  • Areas of shortage, particularly special education
  • Five-year plans for program development
  • Data on placement of new teachers in Oklahoma public schools

The purpose of the study would be to examine the likely number of teachers we can expect to enter common education from Oklahoma schools in the next five years, and efforts and strategies to increase this number. (Interim Study No. 19-132)

Mental health access for youth, including trauma and LGBTQ youth, requested by Rep. Jeff Boatman (R-Tulsa), Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-Oklahoma City), Rep. Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City), and Rep. Randy Randleman (R-Eufaula)

I want to look into what public and private mental health programs are available to youth in our state, and try to assess the level of accessibility of those programs.  We will look into how accessibility varies among the counties within the state, and how our overall accessibility compares to other states in our region. (Interim Study No. 19-106)

A significant number of emergency 911 calls have children who are witnesses to a traumatic event without any follow-up support.

Children are often sent to school the next day after witnessing a traumatic event without support systems in place, which undermines the children’s ability to focus, behave appropriately, and learn.

Schools are often not alerted to these traumatic events and may interpret a child’s disengagement in the classroom as disrespectful, increasing the chances of school failure, truancy, suspension, expulsion, drop out, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Recognizing both the urgency and complexity of untreated trauma, it’s imperative to continually seek input from broad groups of stakeholders, in both public and private sectors on how the Oklahoma State Legislature can best take action to support statewide coordinated efforts during critical windows of time.

Topics to be discussed, but not limited to: 

  • The prevalence of OK children witnessing or being victims of traumatic events.
  • The effects of inter-agency coordinated approaches that increase communication between law enforcement, schools and mental health providers during critical windows of time to increase access to positive supports and build resiliency skills.
  • Steps that other states have taken to implement Handle With Care to address untreated trauma and the data showing effectiveness.
  • Proposed legislative action to increase this coordinated approach. (Interim Study No. 19-074)

Analyzing the effects of practices by licensed medical and mental health care providers aimed at changing a minor’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, such as “conversion therapy”, on both the short and long-term mental health of LGBTQ youth in Oklahoma. (Interim Study No. 19-123)

Work-based learning, requested by Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Mustang)

Information should be included to answer, but not be limited, to the following: Which agency or group is in charge of providing the state goals for WBL? What are the goals?

Who sets the accountability and metrics and keeps the data? How are we partnering with industry and are they promoting their needs? How are we leveraging WIOA, ESSA, and Perkins finds to achieve common goals?  

Speakers should include SDE, Career Tech, Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, State Chamber, industry leaders. (Interim Study No. 19-102)

Workforce development and working families, requested by Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Norman), Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa), and Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa)

This interim study will focus on the various Oklahoma policies that affect working families in order to see what, if any, areas we could improve upon to better benefit those individuals.  It will be a broad examination of our focus on the working class calling upon experts from all areas and organizations across the state.  We would also like to compare some of our policies with surrounding states or similarly situated states to see best practices. (Interim Study No. 19-047)

Examine policy and avenues to improve the relationship of public schools with Oklahoma businesses. Increase the scale of collaboration to create workforce ready individuals for the industries that are here and can’t find the workers they need to fill the jobs they have.  Example:  Aerospace.  Our technical schools simply can’t keep up with the demand.  It is time to scale up our efforts with technical schools as well as bringing business into a closer partnership with our public schools to a mutually satisfactory relationship. (Interim Study No. 19-099)

 


 

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