OKLAHOMA CITY -- Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus today sent a letter to State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to request that Oklahoma follow in the steps of Georgia and seek a standardized testing waiver for the 2020-2021 school year.
The letter, authored by Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa, was supported by all six members of the House Democratic Caucus Policy Working Group, five of whom are former public school educators.
“I think as educators our first instinct is to always think of what’s best for our students,” Waldron said. “We all recognize that COVID has brought disruption to our way of life, and that includes our public education system. As we continue to navigate this new reality and figure out how best to proceed, the best thing for our students is to focus on the culture of our schools not testing outcomes. Georgia was one of the first states to realize this, and we want to be next.”
Georgia’s waiver request cites budget reductions, something Oklahoma’s education system is no stranger to, as the primary reason for the waiver.
“Given the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and the resulting state budget reductions, it would be counterproductive to continue with high-stakes testing for the 2020-2021 school year,” reads the Georgia request waiver.
State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, a former public school educator and administrator, points to pandemic’s effects on education and the recovery process as to why this waiver is necessary.
“Our teachers have a monumental task this fall that they have already begun preparing for: determining how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted learning and developing the best plan to meet the unique needs these uncertain times will demand,” Provenzano said. “It's time to put authentic assessment squarely into the hands of these skilled professionals who will be working directly with our children."
MEDIA NOTE: Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus Policy Working Group are State Rep. Kelly Albright, D-Midwest City, State Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, State Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater, State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, State Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa.