Oklahoma House and Senate override governor’s veto of reading bill

Oklahoma House and Senate override governor’s veto of reading bill
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Updated May 21, 2014 – Oklahoma House and Senate override governor’s veto of reading bill
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that would have modified a bill to allow teams of administrators, a reading specialist, teachers and parents to decide if a student could advance to the fourth grade.

On Wednesday, both the Oklahoma House and Senate overrode the veto, making it easier for children to advance, even if they are not reading at grade level.

Posted May 15, 2014 – Oklahoma Schools See Thousands Fail Reading Tests who Could Repeat 3rd Grade

Nearly 8,000 Oklahoma third grade students fail state reading tests and are at risk of being held back. The Oklahoma reading sufficiency act is facing its first test — the goal is to ensure all kids can read sufficiently by third-grade — but with more than 15-percent failing the law’s being challenged.

On Thursday, third graders worked on spelling and reading at Roosevelt elementary. In the Miami district’s five elementary schools, fourteen percent didn’t score proficient on state tests. That’s better than the state average of 15.7%.

Roosevelt principal Melissa Bekemeier says, “Nearly all of our students who scored unsatisfactory have special needs, high mobility, are english language learners.

Bekemeier says, “The number one thing they need is small group or one on one instruction. They need that intensive remediation and intervention skill specific.”

And that takes funding which didn’t come with the retention law.

Assistant superintendent Dr. Randy Darr says, “If you say, we’re gonna hold kids back but you don’t change anything in the classroom 0011 or the funding or the programs that are being delivered to the school it’s not gonna do much good.”

Mobility was a big issue at Roosevelt elementary where one student arrived in April and took the test a week later. But students with an individualized education plan took a different test this year one without modifications.

Bekemeier says, “We had children that were in tears that were crying and it was just it was a different. It’s not what they’re normally used to in the classroom. They’re used to getting modified work and assignments. And they’re given the same test every child regardless of whatever their disability is.”

Good Cause Exemptions

Ten Miami students qualify for good cause exemptions. Those include:

1. English Language learner with less than two years instructions, 2. those with severe disabilities, 3. passing an alternate assessment, 4. teacher created portfolios,5. students on IEP’s who have already been retained a previous year, and 6.have already been retained twice.

14 of the 24 in the Miami district who didn’t score proficient, will be given an alternate test. If they pass that they move on to third grade if not they’ll be held back .

That is unless a bill rushed through the house and senate this week, gets signed by Governor Mary Fallin which would put the retention decision back in the hands of district officials.

Darr says that could make a difference, “Especially students we know just don’t test well, you know. We have documentation of how they’ve read all year. And if they’ve been with us more than one year how they’ve been since kindergarten.”

The governor is expected to decide next Tuesday on house bill 2625. To read more about that click here

And for information on the current state sufficiency act click here.

The principal says summer school could be enough to get some students at grade level but under the law if they don’t pass alternate tests they have to redo third grade.