Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Senate passes bill on public school instruction time

Senate advances bill calling for increased classroom time for students

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Monday passed a bill that provides increased classroom time for students beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.

Senate Bill 441 was one of four agenda items of Senate Republicans for the 2019 session. The bill passed the Senate on Monday by a 30-16 vote.

“More instructional time is a critical element in the formula of student success. That’s why Senate Republicans made this piece of legislation one of our four agenda items for this year’s session. When we look at education policy, everything we do should put the focus on the student. Senate Bill 441 puts student achievement squarely in focus by getting them more time in the classroom with a quality, professional educator,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

Senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, is the author of the bill.

“Everyone can agree that it’s beneficial for a student to spend more time in the classroom learning from a quality teacher. More time in the classroom should help improve student outcomes and potentially reduce the rates of college remedial enrollment. It’s also important to preserve the right of local school districts to make decisions that are best to meet their needs. Senate Bill 441 is a great piece of legislation that puts the focus on the students and lets local schools make the ultimate decision on their school calendar. This bill has been the culmination of a lot of hard work by members of the Senate and I appreciate those senators who supported this bill,” Quinn said.

The bill now goes to the House. If the House approves SB 441, the bill would go to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Key parts of SB 441:

  • For the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school year, there would be no change to existing law so school districts can choose to pursue 180 days of instruction or 1,080 hours of instruction with no restrictions.
  • Beginning in 2021-2022 school year school districts will have three options:
  • 165 days of classroom time
  • 1,080 hours with a minimum of 165 days of classroom time
  • 1,080 hours with no minimum of days of classroom time if districts are able to meet the minimum guidelines for school performance and cost savings.
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Education will promulgate rules on minimum guidelines focusing on student achievement and fiscal savings to receive an exemption.
  • The Oklahoma Legislature would have to approve the State Department of Education exemption rules.


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