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Bill modifying Reading Sufficiency Act clears Senate

Sen. John Ford Sen. John Ford
Sen. Ford says the focus remains on improving reading skills.

The full Senate has given its approval to legislation modifying Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA). Senate Bill 630, by Senate Education Chair John Ford and Rep. Dennis Casey, was approved Friday unanimously.

“The changes we are making give us the flexibility we need at the local level but is still designed to ensure Oklahoma students are acquiring the reading skills necessary to succeed,” said Ford, who represents Nowata, Rogers and Washington Counties in the Senate. “These modifications take into account the needs and concerns voiced by classroom teachers, administrators and parents throughout our state as we work together to meet this essential goal.”

In 2014, legislation created Student Reading Proficiency Teams to allow probationary promotion for students not reading at grade level—those students would receive an individual remediation plan to improve their skills. SB 630 extends the use of those teams and probationary promotion through the 2017-2018 school year. The legislation also phases in higher reading proficiency requirements beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.

The legislation also directs students in kindergarten through third grade to be screened at both the beginning and end of the school year—currently screening is only required at the beginning of the school year. Additionally, if a first, second or third-grader is shown to be reading at third grade level on any of those screenings, that will satisfy the requirements for promotion.

Casey said he was appreciative of the input he and Ford received from local educators and parents as they continued to fine-tune the reading program.

“Parental involvement in a child’s education is absolutely invaluable to a school district in guiding a child’s academic success,” said Casey, R-Morrison. “I appreciate the hard work teachers and schools have put into addressing the changes necessary to improve the Reading Sufficiency Act.”

The measure now returns to the House for final consideration.

Contact info
Sen. Ford: (405) 521-5634