Mary Fallin

Fallin issues order barring feds from state's academic standards

December 6, 2013
The Tulsa World
By Kim Archer

Gov. Mary Fallin Wednesday issued an executive order directing the state Secretary of Education to monitor and ensure that the federal government does not intrude in Oklahoma's development of academic curricula and teaching strategies.

In the order, she said that the federal government will have no input in the formulation of the Oklahoma Academic Standards or the assessments used to determine student performance.

She said the state will be "exclusively responsible" for deciding the assessment methodology to be used to measure student performance and that local districts may "at their own discretion" adopt additional supplementary assessments to measure educational progress.

The order also specifies that all state agencies "will aggressively oppose any future attempt by the federal government to force the state to adopt standards that do not reflect Oklahoma values."

In addition, the order states that Oklahoma Academic Standards will not jeopardize the privacy of any Oklahoma student or citizen and that both local school districts and the Oklahoma State Department of Education shall refrain from collecting or reporting student information in a manner that would violate state or federal privacy laws.

The Oklahoma standards affect only K-12 public schools, Fallin said. Home schools and homeschooled children are not under the jurisdiction of the Education Department and are not affected by the implementation of any standards adopted by the state.

"The state of Oklahoma has not received federal funding relating to the adoption of Oklahoma's curricular standards for instruction, the Oklahoma core curriculum, or the Common Core State Standards," the order said.

In addition, Oklahoma hasn't received a federal directive regarding implementation of curricular standards, it said.

The state Legislature voted several years ago to align English and math curriculum with the Common Core Standards, which were spearheaded by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards take effect in the 2014-15 school year.

Previously, Oklahoma had signed on with an alliance of 20 or more other states called Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers to develop common assessments for Common Core standards.

In July, Barresi announced Oklahoma would pull out of the PARCC alliance and develop its own standardized tests that will coincide with the new Common Core curriculum standards.

Oklahoma is one of 44 states to adopt some of the Common Core Standards.

State Education Secretary Robert Sommers was in attendance during Fallin's announcement Wednesday. State Superintendent Janet Barresi had a prior engagement in Bartlesville, said Fallin's spokesman Alex Weintz.

He said the Governor's Office coordinated with the Education Department "every step of the way while drafting this executive order."

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