WASHINGTON, D.C. – U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education announcing yesterday that the State of Oklahoma has been granted an extension of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility:
“After initially denying Oklahoma’s request for continued flexibility from the strict regulations of ESEA in order to complete the development and implementation of Oklahoma’s college- and career- ready standards, it is welcome news that the U.S. Department of Education has reinstated our state's waiver. This will give Oklahoma’s teachers, administrators, and school children the needed flexibility to meet and exceed the current standards set by the U.S. Department of Education. I have always been a strong supporter of giving more control of the education of our children to local communities, and in June I introduced the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act to limit burdensome, big-government education regulation from the federal government. I am proud to work close with the Oklahoma delegation and stakeholders to ensure Oklahoma’s communities, parents, and students have a greater voice in Oklahoma’s education system.”
On Aug. 25, the Oklahoma Delegation sent a letter to the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan requesting the agency to consider a one-year extension of Oklahoma’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility in order to continue developing elementary and secondary education standards in conjunction with institutions of higher education. On Aug. 28th, the U.S. Department of Education denied Oklahoma’s flexibility request. On Oct. 16th Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education determined the state’s Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) subject matter standards were college- and career- ready.
In a letter dated Nov. 10, the Oklahoma delegation again urged Secretary Duncan to grant ESEA Flexibility to the State of Oklahoma in light of the development of the PASS standards, in order to avoid costly implementation of No Child Left Behind standards, and to provide certainty and stability to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.