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State Board of Education strengthens standards-making process

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 30, 2015) — In the first State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting helmed by new State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, board members on Thursday passed several measures to strengthen the process by which Oklahoma will develop new K-12 academic standards for English language arts and mathematics. In addition to adopting a tough policy to ensure openness and transparency, the SBOE approved an executive director for the standards’ development process.

Supt. Hofmeister also officially joined the Oklahoma Education Standards Steering Committee.

In proposing a transparency policy for the steering committee, Hofmeister said it is critical that the standards-creation process include feedback from stakeholders in the state’s public education system.

“Because the steering committee is not statutorily subject to the Open Meetings Act, I think it’s important to meet that law’s standard of openness and even exceed it where possible,” Hofmeister said. “Many Oklahomans are interested in seeing that the result of this process will be first-rate academic standards that are college- and career-ready.”

The SBOE established the steering committee late last year after Gov. Mary Fallin signed a measure repealing Common Core academic standards. House Bill 3399 mandated the state develop and adopt its own standards for English language arts and mathematics.

Under the policy passed unanimously by the state education board:

  • Meeting notices will be filed with the Secretary of State and posted on the State Department of Education (SDE) website at least 48 hours before all meetings;
  • Meeting agendas will be posted on the SDE website at least 24 hours before all meetings;
  • All meetings are open to the public;
  • The steering committee can only meet in closed session if a motion to do so is approved by a 3/4ths vote of members present for a quorum; and
  • The steering committee chairperson will ensure that a summary of each meeting is posted on the SDE website within 48 hours of adjournment.

Hofmeister and board members expressed hope that their new plan to record audio and/or video of the meetings would increase involvement for all stakeholders to more easily follow the standards-making process.

Hofmeister became a member of the steering committee, replacing State Board of Education member Bill Price. He voluntarily stepped down from the steering committee because more than two members on that panel would constitute an SBOE quorum.

William RadkeDr. William Radke

Board members also hired Dr. William J. Radke to serve as executive director of the standards-creation process. Radke was provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) for eight years until his retirement in 2013.

I appreciate this opportunity,” he told board members. “Here’s an opportunity for someone who has been in higher education in Oklahoma for 40 years … to have one last opportunity to make a difference in the state of Oklahoma.”

Radke began work at UCO in 1975 as a professor. In 2000, he became assistant dean of the Office of Sponsored Research and Grants, and he served in several other academic leadership positions until he was named provost and VP of academic affairs in 2005.

While at UCO, Radke was involved in the university’s transformative learning initiative, curriculum development and multiple leadership programs.

He has a doctorate in zoology from the University of Arizona, as well as a bachelor’s degree in science education and a master’s degree in biology from Minnesota State University.

Radke noted that the process of creating academic standards, which by law must be implemented by the 2016-17 school year, will utilize the experiences of other states.

“We don’t have to start from zero,” he said. “We can make this our own for Oklahoma students and make it the best it can possibly be.”

Steering committee chair Amy Ford said the panel will next meet at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 16, to hear from national experts on academic standards. The tentative location for the meeting is at the State Capitol in the Governor’s large conference room on the second floor. The meeting will continue on Feb. 17 if more time is needed.

Hofmeister, a former board member appointed by Gov. Fallin, said she was excited to rejoin the SBOE.

“I look forward to working with this board on behalf of the schoolchildren of Oklahoma,” she said. “It is a new day for education in our state, and together we can do great things.”


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Last updated on January 30, 2015