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Senator Shurden Files Bill Repealing Mandatory Curriculum/Honor Diploma

OKLAHOMA CITY - Calling the new requirements unfair to Oklahoma schools and students, Henryetta Senator Frank Shurden has authored SB 1047 that would repeal the course-specific curriculum and honor diploma programs signed into law by the Governor last year.

"I've heard from teachers, administrators and parents across the state who feel that the curriculum requirements of House Bill 1759 were simply a bad deal. The bottom line is, this is going to cause more harm than good. We need to get it off the books," said Senator Shurden.

The curriculum requirements were course-specific and included 4 units of English, 3 of math, 3 science, and 3 social studies. HB 1759 also established a separate "Diploma of Honor", which required other specific courses. A student choosing to pursue that diploma might be eligible for the Oklahoma Tuition Scholarship Program.

"Never has the state ever taken away so much control from our local schools. They're the ones who are most in touch with what their students need. Not only that, but this curriculum places an unfair burden on students who plan to pursue career training through Vo-tech programs," said Senator Shurden.

Senator Shurden also pointed out that the legislation could actually shut some students out of a college education.

"Say a student didn't choose to enroll in the courses required for the Diploma of Honor their freshman year, but decided later on in high school that they wanted to go to college. No matter how well they did, they wouldn't be eligible for the Oklahoma Tuition Scholarship program," commented Shurden.

Under Senate Bill 1047, the new curriculum requirements would be repealed, along with the Diploma of Honor. It puts back in place the curriculum mandated by HB 1017. That curriculum required every high school in the state to offer courses sufficient to prepare students for enrollment at a comprehensive institution of higher education. The Oklahoma Tuition Scholarship program would remain on the books, but with different criteria.

"As a state we want to do everything we can to encourage our children to pursue more education, whether through a Vo-tech program or at the college level. Unfortunately HB 1759 would accomplish just the opposite for thousands of Oklahoma students," said Senator Shurden.

Contact info
Senate Communications Division - (405) 521-5605