By the slimmest of margins, Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Treat was able to get his Oklahoma Empowerment Act passed through the Senate Education Committee. The 8-7 vote forced the pro tem and the Senate floor leader – who can vote on any committee – to vote in favor of the measure. This is quite rare and indicates that there is quite a bit of opposition to the bill in the Senate – at least in the Senate Education Committee.
The controversy is that it would take public education money and put it into college savings accounts, giving parents access to more than $3,000 per child to spend on private schools or college options. home schooling.
I’m a fan of school choice. Parents should be able to choose the education option that best meets the needs of their children. The Legislative Assembly has done much in recent years to provide more options for parents. Last year, we passed an open transfer law allowing students from a failing public school to transfer to another public school of their choice at any time during the school year with certain restrictions. We have also reformed the school funding formula so that funding follows the student more quickly. We expanded Equal Opportunity Scholarships, which provide tax benefits to private donors who wish to donate to public schools or private education options. Oklahoma has no restrictions on home schooling.
But our schools, especially our rural schools, need adequate funding to meet the needs of the students they are required to serve by the state constitution. Treat said its legislation would not exhaust public school funding, but that’s not realistic. In rural Oklahoma, there are very few private schools, and the concern is that funding per student in rural areas will decline as more urban students move from public schools to private schools. The bill has passed the Senate Education Committee, but it still has to go through the Senate Appropriations Committee and then through the full Senate. If he crosses the rotunda, House Speaker Charles McCall said he does not plan to grant him a hearing in the House. He said most rural lawmakers in the chamber thought it wouldn’t help their local communities.
While we’re talking about education, I want to outline some of the legislation I’ll be presenting to the House Common Education Committee. Bill 3500, as amended, would update penalties for anyone who assaults a teacher or school board member.
We have had issues locally and statewide with teachers being physically assaulted by students. Some of the assaults on teachers have been serious – requiring medical attention or even hospitalization. Teachers deserve a safe and secure workplace, and this bill is about creating a safer workplace. I’m sure this bill will get attention and be amended, but the message from the Legislative Assembly with this is that we value teachers, school board members and support staff and want this measure to lead to greater safety for them at school.
This legislation would make a felony a misdemeanor and a one- to two-year sentence for anyone convicted of assaulting or assaulting a school employee or school board member. The bill would increase the penalty for aggravated bodily injury or assault to such a person from two to five years.
Do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 557-7327.
God protects you!