New academic standards written for Oklahoma students

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OKLAHOMA – Heads up parents: your kids could be learning from a new set of English language arts and math standards next school year.

Thursday, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved the changes.

Now, they are headed to the capitol for approval.

Lawmakers will be reviewing them the first day of session on Monday.

The State Board of Education is hoping they will be approved quickly, so teachers can get ready to implement the changes this coming fall.

“We have new standards that are clear and concise that parents will be able to read easily and know how to support the classroom teacher as well as at home,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

We are told 1,900 teachers across the state were directly involved in writing the new standards.

“Cursive writing coming back into the standards,” Hofmeister said. “Also, some very strong foundational work with phonics, with math fluency.”

The standards aim to better prepare kids for college and demanding careers.

Dr. Frank Wang is the president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.

He said he is not a fan of standards normally but was pleasantly surprised by the ones written for math.

“I feel, if the students are able to meet the standards that are described here, they would be well positioned to be able to pursue pretty much any career they would like to pursue,” Wang said.

In 2014, a bill repealed Common Core and demanded new standards to be created.

Rep. Jason Nelson pushed that bill.

After reviewing the new set of standards, he said he will be seeking the opinions of experts and additional educators.

“Standards have the force and effect of law, which require that you teach at least those standards. You can teach more than that, but you have to at least teach those standards to every single kid in the system. That’s 690,000 students,” Nelson said. “That’s the law. That’s what they’re to be taught, so it’s essential that we get it right.”

Lawmakers have until the end of the session to approve, deny or request changes to the standards.

If they do not act, then they will automatically go into effect.

You can review the proposed standards for yourself here.

Education Director of Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment, Jenni White, sent a statement to NewsChannel 4 saying in part:

“We believe the only way the public can truly be certain that these standards satisfied the full measure of HB3399, passed by the legislature at the overwhelming request of the public, is to have the standards reviewed by the legislature via a public forum where comments from the standards writing experts and others can be heard. We do appreciate all the work of the standards writing committees and will be pleased to see the standards vetted in a public forum.”

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