Home > Uncategorized > Goodbye, PASS – Hello, Undefined Process

Goodbye, PASS – Hello, Undefined Process

March 25, 2013

Typically, when any state agency proposes changes to existing administrative rules, it is in response to legislative action or some kind of experience with the impact of the previous version of those rules. Take the A-F Report Cards for example. The implementation was an abject disaster, and for the most part, schools view them as completely irrelevant. Legislators have proposed multiple bills to either change or eliminate the existing rules. The SDE responded to this with several proposed changes, which upon careful reading, seem to make things worse.

That’s why so many people have written to me alarmed at the proposed rule changes on the SDE website for eliminating PASS and replacing them with a process largely to be determined by the state superintendent. There was no legislative mandate for this. There was no system failure that rendered it necessary. And as I’ve responded to several of those who’ve written me, I can’t tell if this is absolutely nothing or something huge. The accompanying impact statement includes the following:

The purpose of the proposed rule at 210:15-1-3 is to establish a procedure for adoption and publication of academic content and process standards by the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education in accordance with the provisions of 70 O.S. § 11-103.6a. Because the academic content and process standards have increased in volume, the Agency believes that discontinuing the use of the rulemaking process to promulgate academic content and process standards as rules in the Oklahoma Administrative Code and replacing the process with a new procedure for submission for Board approval will reduce administrative costs and will afford education stakeholders more opportunity to provide input prior to revisions of the academic content and process standards. The proposed rule provides for implementation of a volunteer advisory council to provide the State Department of Education with recommendations for revision of the academic content and process standards prior to drafting proposed standards. The proposed rule also provides for a process of review and public comment of draft proposed standards by the public prior to submission of the standards to the State Board of Education for approval.

As far as I can tell, this change removes all standards that have been in place for years and replaces them with nothing. In place will be a process that has less interaction and supervision than previous standard-setting efforts. In other words, the SDE will have the option to reinvent the standards with as little or as much input as they want from professional educators.

If this is just the SDE clearing out space for the Common Core State Standards, so be it. I just can’t accept that it’s as simple as that.

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  1. Rob Miller
    March 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Those who are paying attention are now seeing the real intent behind CC$$ and the national standards movement. This was never a grassroots effort, but instead represents the first steps in the corporate takeover of public education. The PARCC assessments on track for 2014-2015 are the heart of the beast. It is where we must drive the stake. Everything else (TLE, A-F, merit pay, parent trigger, etc) is dependent on implementation of these tests. We must somehow convince our legislators to follow the lead of Alabama and withdraw from these testing consortiums before they cause irreparable harm to our students and schools. It won’t be easy but it is a battle we must win!


    • March 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      That’s a great comment, and it probably deserves its own post rather than a follow up by me.


  2. Rob Miller
    March 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks, btw I am a MS Principal so I loved your post on the red-cockaded woodpecker! I can just imagine how some of my students might respond to this prompt! As others have tweeted, it is absolutely maddening that we still have no materials for the 8th grade writing tests next week. For my school, we have to sort, label, and organize over 1650 individual tests. It may be a long weekend. Add to that, we also don’t have log-in information for CTB’s online tests that start on April 10. Again, we will need to schedule nearly 5000 online tests into 100 different test sessions within a 20-day testing window. PARCC will triple these numbers!


    • April 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Testing has become a nightmare and I can’t believe the schools have not received the proper materials in time to use. Growing up in Okla City Public Schools and teaching there at one time, I remember tests were to show what was learned and understood and what was NEEDED to be reviewed or instructed in a different way. Now, it seems all in education who really care are standing on their heads and drumming in facts, drilling and pressuring because of FEAR. Fear of losing their jobs, the school’s reputation, someone breathing down your throat, or the threats to take over your school. What’s fear got to do with education and facilitating learning??? WAIT, I know, it’s the almighty dollar, it’s rewarding schools who jump through the hoops at the right level and right time, it’s so our bright students can compete globally with other countries, it makes headlines….oh my. What has happened to life skills, parent involvement, community caring, listening to what our children know and tell us they need!? Testing IS NOT the way to show imagination, creativity, and right-brain activity which is also needed to compete in the world today. You can’t test emotional intelligence and in the end, people skills are what earns the bucks for a lifetime and how do you test for people skills? I cannot believe the pressure on young children and teachers and school counselors and administrators on testing. Think what EXPENSIVE test systems cost every year? There have to be better solutions. Of course academic challenges and competence are a part of education and needed but is this the way???


  3. March 26, 2013 at 8:10 am

    That was an interesting public comment on the change in ALL the rules yesterday! Wish you’d’ve been there with us! My comment can be found here http://restoreoklahomapubliceducation.blogspot.com/2013/03/oklahoma-state-department-of-education.html There was no transparency to this process at all. Oh yes, there was public comment allowed, but as you so tragically point out, what exactly were we commenting on? There was never any way to decipher exactly what this rule change was intended to do other than insert a handpicked council to make determinations on what the education standards should be for all of Oklahoma. I also thought it sad that although there were over a dozen administrators there – all there to comment negatively on the A-F rules (the whole process of which stinks on ice) – not a single administrator or other education official complained about the rule change for the standards. Shouldn’t we ALL be concerned about Oklahoma’s Standards? Shouldn’t educators of all people have those forefront in their minds? Granted, I’m so thankful I’m no longer in education simply because the new ‘reforms’ are doing nothing but micromanaging the whole idea of teaching and learning into the toilet, but have we lost sight – in all the nonsense – that what’s really important are those things we put into kids heads?


  4. SDH
    March 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Why would the SDE revoke non common core standards — social studies, science, the arts, PE, etc. — if this was about common core? And, if they revoke things like Oklahoma history and Personal Financial Literacy, can they still be required for ACE and a high school diploma if no state standards for those courses exists? What will be the impact of social studies adoption under way — standards just revised by the SBE and approved by lawmakers in the last year? And, how does the SDE think that a rule can legally overturn a law, e.g. HB 1017?


  1. April 19, 2013 at 7:41 am
  2. July 10, 2013 at 7:20 am
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