Since day one of the campaign, Kevin Stitt has been committed to a vision to deliver a Top Ten education system in Oklahoma. As a job creator who employs hundreds of Oklahomans, Kevin Stitt recognizes that a successful education system is foundational to growing Oklahoma’s economy, recruiting new job creators, and increasing opportunity for all four million Oklahomans.
Over the past 18 months, Kevin Stitt has hosted roundtable meetings with teachers, superintendents, parents, and education policy experts from across the state. The answers are clear. Teachers need to be valued as professionals. Students need smaller classrooms and a modernized education system that guides each into a productive future. Family and community engagement must be strengthened. Barriers within the education system, from Pre-K thru high school, career tech, to higher education, must be torn down. Education funding needs to be transparent, accountable, and sustainable.
In a Stitt administration, these conversations will continue with all stakeholders at the table. Together, we will implement a multi-year road map to deliver long-term, meaningful change. We will dream big together for Oklahoma’s current students and for our next generation.
Developed through a series of listening sessions, below are the first initial steps a Stitt administration will seek to deliver a turnaround in Oklahoma’s education system:
Retaining the teacher, recruiting the future workforce:
- Increase average teacher pay to make Oklahoma the highest average teacher compensation in the region by the 2019-2020 school year.
- Create a signing pay bonus by partnering with school districts to match dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 for certified teachers joining the Oklahoma public school system for the first time or returning after a two-year hiatus.
- Standardize the teacher certification test in Oklahoma. By moving to the Praxis test, used in forty other states, Oklahoma can streamline certification and make it more attractive for recruiting teachers from neighboring states.
- Abolish the requirement for teachers to pay a renewal fee every five years for recertification. Oklahoma is one of few states that requires educators to get recertified every five years.
- Adopt free-market health care benefits to lower costs. Work with school districts to examine their current health insurance contracts in comparison to coverage offered by the Health Choice Plan administered by OMES. Every dollar expended on health care benefits is a dollar that cannot be used in the classroom or to pay teachers.
Streamlining Regulations, Reducing Costs: A Stitt administration will place a focus on streamlining state mandates on public schools in order to reduce unnecessary paperwork demands and to empower local leaders to make decisions in the best interest of their local schools.
- Cut red tape at high-performing schools, allowing the state to focus more efforts on helping struggling schools. Currently, Oklahoma schools are required to seek reaccreditation every year, regardless of performance. By allowing high-performing schools to move to a 3-year reaccreditation process, it will free up accreditation officers to focus on helping underperforming schools.
Delivering an efficient, accountable education network:
Provide teachers with real-time data on student performance and encourage means for data to stay with the student throughout his or her time in Oklahoma’s public education system, while protecting student information. A Stitt administration will work to promote a system that is equipped to celebrate and encourage the growth of a child instead of only measuring him or her on a pass/fail analysis each year.
The State Department of Education (SDE) made a good first step in renegotiating a contract to ensure annual test results will be provided by June 1, which will allow teachers to prepare curriculum for the students they are inheriting. But, we also need to empower teachers with the ability to measure growth for each student during the school year. In a Stitt administration, we will continue to reform the testing process and expand resources that empowers teachers to assess and teach to the current needs of their students.
Streamline data in public education and encourage information collaboration between common education, career tech, and higher education so we can fill the cracks in the education pipeline as they are discovered and best focus on the outcome of the child.
SDE alone has 13 different local data systems that feed into one. This is incredibly cumbersome and prevents us from looking at student performance holistically across the student’s academic career. In a Stitt administration, we will pursue means to streamline the data and ensure SDE has real-time access to the information.
Advancing the student:
- Promote and grow statewide Individual Career Academic Plans (ICAP). Oklahoma has an opportunity to blend what is offered by higher education, the career tech system, and PK-12 schools. Until 2017, there were 35 states that utilized ICAPs. Oklahoma was not one of them. The Oklahoma SDE is now implementing pilot programs with the goal of implementing the potential statewide ICAPs in two years. Of the 26 pilot programs, 21 have adopted the career tech materials. In a Stitt administration, we will support full implementation as the start of moving Oklahoma towards Top Ten outcomes for our children.
- Request a task force to deliver recommendations, in the first year of a Stitt administration, of ways the state can partner with communities to provide needed support for students and families. Oklahoma has some of the highest Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores in the country. We need to expand community resources to support our children and their families. We need to move to a model of trauma informed schools through counseling and other support to help give our students a greater chance of success. We need to provide research-based tools to address underlying causes impacting our students and break generational cycles to allow our students to succeed. This will allow our teachers to focus on teaching.
Simplifying the funding formula, empowering local leaders:
- Simplify Oklahoma’s school funding formula so it is more transparent and student-centered. In Oklahoma, very few understand the complicated school funding formula, and Oklahomans deserve complete transparency.
- Create flexibility in the funding formula to encourage investment at the local level in education. We should not hold back communities that want to do more for their children.
- Fund schools based on the number of students in the current year instead of the number of students the school served three years ago.
By filling out the form below, you are joining the Green Apple Teachers for Stitt and showing your support to work with Kevin Stitt as the next governor in delivering a Top Ten education system. A list of supporters, first and last name only, will be posted online at a later date.