Super Sized Executive Order (with a side of fries)
Governor Fallin wants to make sure we all understand that she does not like the federal government. Also, we’re keeping the Common Core, but we will never accept money from the feds. For pretty much anything.
She also wants you to know that her Secretary of Education will be watching not only the feds (because we don’t like them) but also the legislature to make sure they don’t do anything to undercut our commitment to the Common Core. And that she’ll never allow anyone to tell schools what to do as long as they do something that supports the Common Core (especially if they don’t take federal money).
Furthermore, there will be no intrusive data collection by the federal government. That is to be handled by state officials and the vendors with which they enter into contracts.
To drill these points home, she had her policy director send out the following email to a handful of legislators and opinion leaders (all from Oklahoma, thankfully). Not included in the recipient list, however, was State Senator Eddie Fields, who filed legislation last week to eliminate the Common Core.
As you know, Governor Fallin supports the goals of the Common Core State Standards: to increase classroom rigor in English and Math and to measure academic progress through assessments that emphasize critical thinking over memorization. She is also aware that some lawmakers and constituents have become increasingly concerned about the potential for federal intrusion in the implementation of Common Core, as well as education policy in general. The governor takes those concerns seriously, and she appreciates those of you who have come forward to share their thoughts on this issue.
To address those concerns, Governor Fallin plans to sign an executive order this morning at 10:30 am that will: ensure the federal government does not jeopardize Oklahoma’s ability to create and implement its own education policies; protect the privacy rights of our children; and protect the rights of home-schooled children, who will not be affected by Common Core.
An embargoed copy of the Executive Order is ATTACHED.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you very much, Katie 405-568-1181
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2013-40
A strong public educational system is critical to the future of Oklahoma. Individual students must be proficient in basic subjects like reading, writing, and math to secure living-wage jobs, succeed in post-secondary education, or create individual wealth. Oklahoma businesses must be able to hire qualified, highly-skilled workers in order to thrive. As such, our prosperity as a state and as individual people and enterprises is dependent on excellent educational outcomes.
The Oklahoma Constitution directs the State Legislature to “establish and maintain” a system of free public education accessible to all Oklahoma children. Okla. Const. art. XIII, § 1. In honoring that obligation, the Legislature in 70 O.S. § 11-103.6 directed the State Board of Education to adopt curricular standards for instruction of students in the public schools to ensure the attainment of desired levels of competencies in a variety of areas, to include social studies, literature, languages, the arts, mathematics, science, and communication.
In the same statute, the Legislature required that these standards ensure that public school students “gain literacy at the elementary and secondary levels through a core curriculum” that would be achieved by development of skills in “reading, writing, speaking, computing and critical thinking.”
In 70 O.S. § 11-103.6a, the Legislature more specifically directed the State Board of Education to align the “English Language Arts and Mathematics” curriculum “with the K-12 Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative”. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers spearheaded the initiative to develop these Common Core Standards, in collaboration with teachers, administrators, and parents, including representatives from Oklahoma.
The State of Oklahoma has not received federal funding relating to the adoption of Oklahoma’s curricular standards for instruction, the Oklahoma core curriculum, or the Common Core State Standards. Additionally, Oklahoma has not received any federal directive regarding implementation of curricular standards, core curriculum, or Common Core State Standards. However, due to the danger of a possible future attempt by the Federal Government to improperly insert itself on this clearly established right of Oklahoma to educate its own citizens, implementation of 70 O.S. §§ 11-103.6 and 11-103.6a must be carefully monitored by executive branch officials.
Accordingly, by the authority vested in me pursuant to Sections 1 and 2 of Article VI of the Oklahoma Constitution, I hereby direct and order the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development to monitor and ensure:
- Any curricular standards, core curriculum, or Common Core State Standards used in Oklahoma required by 70 O.S. §§ 11-103.6 and 11-103.6a be clearly identified with the title of “Oklahoma Academic Standards.”
- The Oklahoma Academic Standards shall be carefully circumscribed to reflect direct application to subject matter proficiency.
- The Oklahoma Academic Standards must increase classroom rigor.
- Students must be asked to demonstrate proficiency in subject matter that is both complex and contains real-life applications, helping them to be better prepared for post-secondary education or entry into the workforce.
- Proficiency in these areas will be demonstrated through assessments.
- All assessments will be developed with input by Oklahomans. Further, final adoption of any assessment is the sole responsibility and obligation of Oklahomans, with input from Oklahoma educators, higher education and career technology centers, parents, and the Oklahoma business community.
- While the Oklahoma Academic Standards shall be statewide standards, each local school district shall exclusively determine the teaching curriculum to be used in meeting the Standards.
- The development of the Oklahoma Academic Standards will continue to be conducted in an open and transparent manner that includes opportunities for Oklahomans to offer input and suggestions for modification or updating of the Oklahoma Academic Standards.
Further, in order to safeguard against any threat of federal intrusion, and to guarantee the implementation of good public policy, by the authority vested in me pursuant to Sections 1 and 2 of Article VI of the Oklahoma Constitution, I direct and order all executive branch agencies with authority to promulgate or otherwise participate in the drafting or adoption of the Oklahoma Academic Standards to adhere to the following principles:
- The Federal Government shall not have any input in the formulation of the Oklahoma Academic Standards or the assessments used to determine student performance.
- The State of Oklahoma will be exclusively responsible for deciding the assessment methodology to be used to measure student performance.
- Local school districts may, at their own discretion, adopt additional supplementary assessments to measure educational progress.
- All agencies of the State of Oklahoma will aggressively oppose any future attempt by the Federal Government to force the state to adopt standards that do not reflect Oklahoma values.
- The Oklahoma Academic Standards will not jeopardize the privacy of any Oklahoma student or citizen. Local school districts and the Oklahoma State Department of Education shall refrain from collecting or reporting student information in a manner that would, in any way, violate state or federal laws intended to protect student and family privacy.
- The Oklahoma Academic Standards affect only K-12 public schools. Home schools and homeschooled children are not under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Education and are not affected by the implementation of any standards adopted by the State, including the Oklahoma Academic Standards.
This Executive Order shall be distributed to the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, who shall cause the provisions of this Order to be implemented.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma to be affixed at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, this 4th day of December, 2013.
BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA