Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Senate Education Committee passes 5-day school week bill

Oklahoma Republicans used to tout a strong belief in local control when it comes to education. Now, seemingly motivated by pressure from the unions who run the Oklahoma education system, they are reversing course.

During the budget crunch of recent years, some schools - given the flexibility of the 1,080-hours required by current law - opted to hold classes for four days a week instead of the traditional five, while still meeting the mandated amount of teaching time. Some communities appear to have preferred that setup (I even had a cleaning customer who is a teacher tell me she liked it better and that her students did better as well), but the education unions decried it and used it as part of their campaign to seek more funding. The State Senate has made it a part of their mission for this session to move the requirement back to the 180-days and remove much of the local control ability for districts to opt for the four-day school week.

Bill restoring 5-day school week clears Senate Education Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Education Committee approved a bill to restore five-day school weeks in Oklahoma schools, advancing one of the four agenda items of Senate Republicans.

Senate Bill 441 by Senator Mary Quinn, R-Claremore, says all public schools shall be in session for no less than 180 days. Currently, schools are to be in session for 1,080 hours. The bill provides exemptions to the five-day school week if local schools can demonstrate four-day weeks aren’t adversely impacting student achievement and four-day weeks actually save the local district money.

“Five-day school weeks are best for students and families. Four-day weeks have hurt Oklahoma’s reputation nationally and impaired the state’s ability to recruit new employers and jobs. Restoring five-day school weeks puts the focus on the student, where it belongs, and will go a long way in repairing our reputation nationally as we work to recruit new jobs and grow Oklahoma’s economy,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

“Senate Republicans are committed to keeping our word on the historic teacher pay raises and doing what’s best for students and that means restoring five-day school weeks. We also believe in the importance of local control, which is why we’ve included reasonable exemptions to the five-day week. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for advancing the bill today and look forward to moving it forward through the process,” Quinn said.

Treat said he applauded the members of the Senate Education Committee who joined him in voting in favor of students by supporting SB 441. Supporters were:

  • Majority Floor Leader Kim David, R-Porter
  • Senator Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa
  • Senator Jason Smalley, R-Stroud
  • Senator Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa
  • Senator Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater
  • Senator Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee
  • Senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
  • Senator Paul Scott, R-Duncan
  • Senator Wayne Shaw, R-Grove
  • Senator Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City


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