Thursday, October 13, 2022

House GOP touts parental choice success under new open transfer law

File this under ongoing school-choice battle. This past legislative session, State Senate leadership aggressively promoted an education savings account/school choice measure (SB 1647), while the State House GOP preferred waiting to see how the open transfer reforms made in the 2021 legislative session panned out.

Act One of the fight seems to have gone to the House, with the defeat of SB 1647 on the Senate floor and some promising signs from the new transfer law.

Speaker McCall, House Republicans tout parental choice success under new open transfer law

OKLAHOMA CITY (OCtober 10th) – Thousands of Oklahoma families have used Oklahoma's new open transfer law to send students to the public schools that best meet their needs.

Nearly 11,000 transfer requests have been made since the open transfer law took effect this year, with more than 8,400 transfers approved, according to State Department of Education data.

"In less than a year, Oklahoma is already seeing big success with open transfer," said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka. "Open transfer is equitably benefitting families in all parts of the state, regardless of geography or income level, without harming public school budgets. I appreciate all the work legislators, parents, school officials and others did to collaborate on a consensus law that is successfully giving families the choices they asked for within their child's education."

McCall added: "Oklahoma's open transfer law is what parental choice done right looks like. We are now one of the best states in the country for parental choice that works, thanks to open transfer."

Oklahoma's open transfer law went into effect Jan. 1, 2022, and allows students to transfer to any public school district in the state. The law was authored by McCall and co-authored by several House Republicans through Senate Bill 783 in the first regular session of the 58th Oklahoma Legislature in 2021, after being first proposed in a bill by McCall, House Bill 2074, that was advanced by the House that session, as well.

Preliminary data shows transfers requested to hundreds of districts across the entire state, in urban, suburban and rural areas. On average, about three of every four transfer requests were approved. Nearly 90% of transfer denials were due to district capacity limits, while the remainder were due to student behavior, attendance or documentation issues.

"Parental choice within the public school system is very popular under the open transfer law because Oklahoma loves our public schools," said Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, chair of the House Education Committee. "As a former school teacher, I am very pleased to see parents using choice to improve their children's educational opportunities and outcomes within Oklahoma's public school system."

Before the law was passed, families could not transfer openly among districts unless the receiving district had a transfer option, which many did not. The pandemic exacerbated the problem when some schools went online only, causing complications for many families.

"Family desire for open transfer was clearly not isolated to the pandemic, given the thousands of transfer requests made post-pandemic. There are a variety of reasons parents are transferring their children, but what's most important is families now have more options available within the public school system," said Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, a former school board member who presented the open transfer legislation in the House. "School districts are also exercising appropriate local control through capacity limits and other measures to maintain quality within districts. This is the balanced, fair approach we sought when bringing all parties together to craft this law, and I'm pleased the early statewide results have been positive."

Under the law, school districts must regularly provide the State Department of Education with data on transfers requests, approvals and denials. The Office of Educational Quality and Accountability then audits a portion of the data annually to ensure compliance with state open transfer laws and local open transfer policies set by school boards.


Post a Comment

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME when commenting. Anonymous comments may be rejected if NOT accompanied by a name.

Comments are welcome, but remember - commenting on my blog is a privilege. Do not abuse that privilege, or your comment will be deleted.

Thank you for joining in the discussion at! Your opinion is appreciated!