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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2015

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Legislators host second educational think tank; invite teachers, parents, and state leaders

State Sen. Anastasia A. Pittman has announced the second educational think tank meeting of the summer will be held Wednesday, July 22nd at the State Capitol. Community leaders, parents, teachers, homeschool educators, and other interested groups are invited to discuss and continue to build and define the vision of the curriculum in Oklahoma schools. The event, hosted by Sen. Anastasia A. Pittman in partnership with Rep. George Young and Leonard Benton, will be held at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City on July 22 in room 419A at 3pm.

Discussion at the July meeting will build primarily on the strategic planning processes identified at the first meeting, including:

• Identifying the most significant challenges to teaching and learning, focusing heavily on diverse students;
• Discussing the needs for an Oklahoma curriculum which incorporates diversity and inclusion; and
• Identifying potential participants to serve on the faith-based advisory committee, which will be assembled by Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

“These think tank collaborative meetings provide a unique view into the future of Oklahoma education,” said Pittman, D-Oklahoma City. “The initial meeting last month brought forth thoughtful discussion, debate and clarity to many of the educational issues Oklahoma is facing. I’m optimistic that by working together in these types of sessions, we can unite and work to ensure our schools are consistently providing all students with the best education possible, complete with a curriculum that embraces diversity and inclusion education.”

Pittman says allowing an open forum to discuss the future of Oklahoma education has provided a unique opportunity gather ideas from teachers, home educators, administrators and others with a stake in educating the state’s youth.

“Aside from the obvious budget constraints the state is currently facing, there are a multitude of other concerns in state education, including diversity training, accountability, adequate access to resources and family involvement in the education process,” said Pittman.

Dr. Belinda Biscoe, Associate Vice-President for Outreach at the University of Oklahoma has also been instrumental as a driving force of the educational meetings.

“Senator Anastasia Pittman convened an Educational Think Tank charged with identifying the most significant challenges to teaching and learning in Oklahoma, in particular those related to educating diverse students. In our first meeting we reflected on both strengths and areas needing improvement in Oklahoma educational practices. Solutions and a vision for tomorrow focused on educating all Oklahoma children well and through a lens of equity,” said Dr. Biscoe. “As this group’s work moves forward, recommendations will reflect research and best practices. The Educational Think Tank members also recognize that improving education involves engaging a myriad of state agencies and partners whose roles are critical to reform efforts. We hope to work closely with Superintendent Hofmeister and her team at the Oklahoma State Department of Education to make an Oklahoma education the best in the nation and world.”

This week, Pittman submitted the request for an interim study on kindergarten preparedness based on the preliminary findings gathered in recent months from educators, parents, students and those who are being considered to serve on the Superintendent’s faith-based advisory committee.

“Anyone with an interest in the future of primary, secondary and post-secondary education in Oklahoma is encouraged to join us for the next meeting on July 22 at the Capitol,” said Pittman. “By proposing strategies and developing recommendations that reflect an ongoing commitment to improving Oklahoma education, we’re making an investment in the future of our great state.”

For more information, contact:
Sen. Pittman: 405-521-5531

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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