ODSS Legislative Goals 2021-22
FUNDING - ODSS will:
- Support raising new recurring revenue that will provide a long term and sustainable funding plan for public schools and Career Tech Centers in Oklahoma.
- Support sustainable operational money to support regionally competitive teacher, including related service provider, pay and professional development, to lower class sizes, to support the social and emotional needs of Oklahoma public school students by funding additional support staff, including Level 2 paraprofessionals, additional academic and mental health counselors and behavior specialists, and to provide a safe environment for all students to be successful.
- Support modernizing the transportation funds to schools to accurately reflect costs with additional funding.
- Oppose any efforts to divert public funds to non-public schools or that would reduce local funding streams.
- Oppose unfunded mandates.
ACCOUNTABILITY - ODSS will:
- Support the continued development and implementation of accountability measures that are research-based, multi-criteria indicators of student growth.
- Support a plan to sustain innovative academic student initiatives to support student learning beyond current federal investments.
EMPLOYEES - ODSS will:
- Support legislative changes to assist with solving the current teacher, related service provider and support staff shortage by removing barriers, protecting benefits and improving compensation for current, future and retired education employees.
- Support examining teacher and administrative preparation programs to reflect the changing needs of students.
- Support streamlining the development, training and mentoring of teachers.
- Support funding to keep teacher and related service provider salaries regionally competitive.
- Support revamping the (state/federal) bus driver certification process to address the bus driver shortage by removing unnecessary barriers.
FEDERAL - ODSS will:
- Recognize the important role the federal government stands to play in leveling the education playing field for all students, ensuring an appropriate Federal/State/Local balance, supporting students, families and special populations (for example, IDEA funding), supporting personnel, strengthening district operations (reduce federal paperwork and provide flexibility), supporting students through appropriate curriculum and assessments, and enhancing district technology infrastructure and student data privacy.
- Support the expansion of E-rate funding to provide broadband access to all students.
- Take effective and immediate action designed to help school districts attract and retain qualified
- special education teachers and Level 2 paraprofessionals and
- related service providers, such as speech-language pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, school psychologists, behavior consultants/specialists and educational interpreters for students who are deaf or hearing impaired
- Offer frequent, free/low-cost, easily accessible and optional training (online and/or throughout different regions of the state) about different types of disabilities/impairments, similar to the OHI and other registry trainings OSDE previously offered
- Create additional paths to training and certification for teachers of students with visual and/or hearing impairments and for orientation and mobility specialists
- Provide frequent, free/low-cost, easily accessible training (online and/or throughout different regions of the state) designed to help school staff members at all levels work more effectively with students who have significant emotional and/or behavioral issues that impede learning
- Collaborate with institutions of higher education to enable appropriately trained graduate students to provide free/low-cost assistance and coaching to school personnel working with students who have significant emotional and/or behavioral issues that impede learning, with the goal of improving outcomes for those students and building school capacity. SDE’s Memorandum of Understanding with UCO should be expanded to include other universities, as appropriate, to reach more schools and students
- Provide more and varied frequent, free/low-cost, easily accessible training designed to help school staff members at all levels across a broad range of disability-related issues, including selecting and providing appropriate accommodations/supports for students with all sorts of impairments in the general education setting
- Collaborate (via inter-agency agreement or otherwise) to provide free/low-cost therapeutic services or links to such services for students with mental health issues
- Continue to collaborate with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Governor’s Office and others to eliminate obstacles to district billing/payment for services deemed necessary by student IEP teams
- Continue efforts to ensure appropriate assessment of students with disabilities, especially students with the most significant cognitive impairments
- Reduce/combine special education paperwork and other requirements to minimize teacher time away from instruction
- Anticipate, prepare for and promptly and effectively address impediments to prompt access to accurate student records and information maintained on EdPlan, the WAVE and other student data systems, including but not limited to the impediments that historically arise near the beginning of each school year and interfere with the prompt transmission of student records and information to students’ school sites