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Senator Williams Comments On Keating "4 X 4", Expresses Concern About New Rule, Unfunded Mandate

"I know Governor Keating has good intentions, but I'm afraid his version of 4 x 4 would add just one more rule, one more layer of unnecessary bureaucracy to our public schools. Every local school board in Oklahoma already has the power to implement 4 years of math, science and social studies on their own, just as El Reno has done. I don't see why we need another dictate from the state level, ordering local school boards to do something that may not be right for every single student, parent and teacher in Oklahoma.

We already have a tough core curriculum in place, and have given local school boards the flexibility to implement it. We've been trying to return power to the local level by deregulating public schools in recent years, but Governor Keating's 4 x 4 would buck that reform trend, adding another regulation to the mountain of rules that already exists. I think local school boards are better equipped to make the decision, not someone in state government in Oklahoma City. A 'one-size-fits-all' program like Governor Keating's 4 x 4 may not be right for every school district in Oklahoma, whether it be the small districts in rural Oklahoma or the large ones in our metro areas.

There are also cost questions about the Governor's 4 x 4 programs. I don't think we should send another unfunded mandate down to our public schools. We don't like it when the federal government gives us unfunded mandates, yet that's what Governor Keating would do to our local schools with his 4 x 4.

That's why I think my 4 x 4 program emphasizing incentives for innovation and teacher development, school readiness, next grade readiness and advanced placement opportunities is the superior program. It provides funding to help our schools, students and teachers, without burying them under new, unnecessary mandates. I think the two concepts can work together, but decisions on 4 years of math, science and social studies should be left to the local level.