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House, Senate overrides Fallin’s veto regarding state third grade reading test

Legislators Wednesday voted to override a veto by Governor Mary Fallin.

Effective immediately, parents and teachers will now have a say in the outcome of the state’s third grade reading test.

Tuesday the governor voted to veto House Bill 2625.

Then, Wednesday afternoon the house and senate both voted in favor of overriding her veto, supporting the bill.

House Bill 2625 makes it where students are not judged solely on the third grade reading tests, rather a team of parents and educators are given the power to decide if a child is ready to move forward.

Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said, “I am just so excited and happy that our legislature was the voice of the 8,000 students that did not pass the reading test.”

The governor says she vetoed the measure because it doesn’t hold students to a high enough standard.

She said, “Gutting the Reading Sufficiency Act and promoting children who aren’t ready to go on to the next grade and be able to take the harder subjects is a great disservice to our children and will set them up for failure.”

The bill would make it where students who fail the third grade reading test may not be held back. Instead a failing test grade would bring a group of parents and educators together to decide what is best for the individual student.”
Representative Jadine Nollan, District 66, who supports HB 2625, said, “I think the governor’s intentions are good. We do want third graders or any child in our education system to be able to read.”

However, legislators did not agree with the governor’s decision.

Wednesday afternoon the house and senate both voted overwhelmingly in favor of overriding Fallin’s decision.
The house voted 79-17 to override the veto. The senate voted 45-2 to override the veto.

What that means is the governor’s veto does not stand and house bill 26-25 goes into effect immediately.

The governor spoke before the vote, sharing her thoughts on the efforts to override her decision .

Governor Fallin, said, “I think it will set Oklahoma back. We know we are failing our children when it comes to reading. I think it’s that critical, that it deserved my veto.”

Students will still take the reading test.

The governor did release a statement late this afternoon saying, “I am disappointed today that the Legislature chose to override my veto of HB 2625, a bill which undercuts third-grade literacy standards and returns us to a system that has failed Oklahoma children for decades.”

She went on to say, “My concern continues to be that we are setting these children up for failure. We are asking them to succeed when we have not given them the skills they need to do so.

“Moving forward, the challenge for lawmakers, teachers, administrators and parents is clear: we must focus on teaching these children to read at a level that prepares them for success in school and beyond.

“The actions taken today by the Legislature do not bring us closer to that goal. My hope is that lawmakers and the education community can work together in the future to tackle the widespread reading deficiencies we see in our schools. Our children deserve nothing less.”