Senators pass HB 3399 37-10 and call for standards specifically for Oklahoma.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would repeal a controversial set of academic standards known as Common Core.
House Bill 3399, by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, passed by a vote of 37-10. The House could move to accept Senate changes or reject them, sending the measure to a conference committee.
The measure calls for the State Board of Education, chaired by State Superintendent Janet Barresi, to develop Oklahoma standards. Barresi in the past has supported Common Core.
Oklahoma adopted the Common Core standards in 2010. It was among 45 states to do so.
Common Core outlines what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. The initiative was developed by the National Governors Association, which Gov. Mary Fallin serves as chair.
Critics say the standards remove local control and would result in additional testing. They also fear it is a national plan for education.
Supporters, however, say it is needed to ensure consistency across the country and boost students’ knowledge.
Sen. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, argued that schools have already spent millions preparing to implement Common Core.
Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada, said she was troubled by the lack of attendance among senators on the floor during the discussion about repeal.
She said lawmakers have “gone off on another tangent without a sufficient plan.”
“We should get it right the first time,” she said.Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Sayre, said he didn’t trust the State Board of Education to implement the Oklahoma standards in an efficient manner or get outside input. He said he had great concern about putting the issue back in the hands of board members.
Under questioning from Democrats who said they heard from constituents that the measure didn’t actually repeal Common Core, Brecheen said the measure would take the standards out of state law.
“Yes I believe this bill cuts the ties with Common Core K-12,” Brecheen said.
Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, said a vote for repeal was a vote against Fallin, the Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce.
“The number one consumer of education is the business community,” Burrage said.
Efforts to repeal Common Core standards are a response to an almost fringe element, Burrage said.
“I really doubt the bill as written becomes law,” Burrage said.