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Education laws proposed for the next session

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In the list of bills filed last week for the 2010 Legislative session, The Oklahoman highlighted a few that had to do with education, including several that might make the state more competitive in the second round of applications for the federal grant program Race to the Top.

Pay for performance: One tenant of the Race to the Top application is establishing a way to reward teacher’s financially for their performance. Now, Rep. Earl Sears, R-Barlesville, has introduced HB 2836 that would create a teacher performance-based pay pilot program. It would instruct the Education Department to award six grants, subject to funding availability, for the 2010-11 school year.

Charter school law revamp: Also in the spirit of reforms highlighted in Race for the Top, Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing has introduced HB 2753 that would remove enrollment and population restrictions on school districts, technology centers and regional institutions allowed to sponsor charter schools and would remove restrictions on the number of charter schools that can be established in a year.

Stretching the budget thin: HB 2546 would allow school districts that have faced reductions in their total budeget of 10 percent or more to delay purchasing textbooks. The funds allocated for textbook purchases could then be used in the support and maintenance of the district. Rep. John Wright, R-Broken Arrow introduced this bill.

Old enough to go to class?: Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, introduced a bill that would change the date that children must reach cut off ages to enter a grade to June 1. The change would apply to age 6 to attend first grade, 5 to attend kindergarten and 4 to attend pre-kindergarten or early childhood programs.

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