For Immediate Release: February 23, 2010
The full Senate has given approval to a bill designed to help more Oklahoma students complete high school. Senate Bill 2139 was approved unanimously on Tuesday. Sen. John Ford, author of the measure, said that currently of 100 students beginning as freshmen in Oklahoma, on average only 75 complete high school.
"This is one of those issues that is not about partisan politics, it's not about urban versus rural--this is an issue that impacts every community in our state," said Ford, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "I believe today's vote shows we are serious about addressing this issue."
Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington counties, said the bill creates a formula for schools to set new graduation targets. Those schools would be given two years to meet those goals. Schools unable to meet their graduation goal will receive assistance from the State Department of Education to develop and implement a plan to improve graduation rates.
"Students who fail to complete a high school diploma are rarely able to climb out of poverty. Finding ways to keep them in school until they graduate and encourage them to continue their education in college or career tech can pump literally billions more dollars into our state's economy over their lifetimes," Ford said.
SB 2139 now moves to the House for further deliberation.