A legislative task force to review the 2005 Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) Act will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, August 25 at the State Capitol.
Sen. John Ford, Senate Education Chair, was author of the legislation creating the task force to conduct a comprehensive review of ACE and determine whether the program should be modified to better meet its objectives. The task force will be co-chaired by Representative Ann Coody, R-Lawton.
Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington counties, said Oklahoma must find ways to reduce the rate of high school dropouts and increase the number of college graduates.
"Of 100 students in Oklahoma that start the ninth grade, only 75 will graduate from high school. Of those 75, only 44 will start college, but only 17 will graduate," Ford said. "We can, and we must do better. The future of our children, our grandchildren and our entire state is at stake."
Ford said he is extremely pleased with the tremendous participation by all branches of education in the task force. During the first meeting, Sandy Garrett, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chancellor Glen Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Phil Berkenbile, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education will all make presentations.
A second meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 26 and will include presentations from other education associations, including the Oklahoma Education Association; the American Federation of Teachers; the Professional Oklahoma Educators; the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition; the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration; and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. Others will provide input as well.
"The bottom line is that we want to do everything in our power to improve and enhance the educational opportunities we offer children in Oklahoma schools, whether these students are bound for college, career-tech or are going straight into the work force," Ford said. "We must find ways to seamlessly blend the services offered by common education, career-tech and higher education to address the issues and needs of all Oklahoma students."