Great news from Oklahoma today: after two years of hard work on the ground attending coalition meetings, researching data to support various polices and scrutinizing language, Gov. Mary Fallon signed a comprehensive charter school bill that will expand charters throughout the state.
Our hats go off to state lawmakers for passing a piece of charter law that puts Oklahoma’s children first. The final law represents a team victory, achieved through a collaboration among combination of traditional school advocates and charter school advocates in the state, as well as business groups and other stakeholders who recognize emphasizing strong accountability for schools and strong standards for authorizers is the way to balance quality charter school options with the interests of local community.
The bill is strong and includes measurable accountability provisions to ensure charter schools and authorizers hold up to their promises to parents and communities, including frameworks that outline goals for academic, financial and operational performance. Authorizers responsible for approving and monitoring schools will be required to develop policies and practices based on NACSA’s recognized principles and standards and will also need to defend decisions to renew schools in the bottom five percent of performance for two years.
We know that our mission to provide one million children the opportunity to attend a better school will take a broad coalition of authorizers, school operators, school boards, lawmakers and others. We cannot thank our partners enough, whose hard work and dedication made this bill a reality: Senator Clark Jolley, Representative Lee Denney, Governor Fallon, the Oklahoma State School Board Association, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, the United Suburban Schools Association, Oklahoma Public Charter School Association (OPCSA), the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), the National Governors Association (NGA),Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition (OBEC), Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC), Stand for Children, the State Chamber of Oklahoma, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative.
Let’s celebrate this win today and start next week anew, as there still is much to be done to make sure every child has a chance to attend a great school.