Oklahoma State Senate
President Pro Tempore
Senator Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5565

For Immediate Release: February 4, 2011

Senate Will Begin State Department of Education Reform Monday



Oklahoma City- The 2011 Oklahoma Legislative Session will begin Monday, and legislators are making State Department of Education reform a part of the ir agenda in the session’s first day.  President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and Senator John Ford, R-Bartlesville, are co-authors of Senate Bill 718, which will give authority of the State Department of Education to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.


            Control of the State Department of Education is currently held by the State Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor.  Recently concerns have been raised about who controls State Department of Education policy.


            “Senate Bill 718 will make our State Department of Education accountable to the people of Oklahoma by placing the powers and authorities within the department under the State Superintendent of Public Instruction,” said Bingman.  Oklahoma’s state superintendents must be allowed to implement the ideas on which the y campaigned and what the voters have approved.”


            “No other statewide office is required to answer to a board, we feel that it is appropriate for our elected officials to have more say than an appointed board,” said Ford, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “Ultimately, Senate Bill 718 is about improving the quality of education for Oklahoma ’s children.”    


              Bingman said an un-elected board that is not accountable to the desires of Oklahomans runs counter to the logic of a representative democracy.


            “Voters elected Superintendent Janet Barresi to do a job and we will make sure that she has the authority to do it,” said Bingman.


            Ford added that, “the people of Oklahoma have clearly requested a change in education policy through the election of Superintendent Barresi.  It is critical that we honor the will of our citizens.”


            Senate Bill 718, authored in the House by Speaker Kris Steele, will be heard in the Senate Education Committee at 9 a.m. Monday morning in room 419-C.

For more information contact:
Senator Bingman: (405) 521-5605

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