There is a saying that “what gets measured, gets done,” and in 1990, our state Legislature seemed to understand this adage. That year, they passed HB 1017, which dedicated $560 million dollars over five years to implement historic education reforms including class size reduction, curriculum standards, testing, and early childhood programs. Since that time, state funding gains have severely eroded, and Oklahoma has not been able to maintain many aspects of HB 1017 including class size limits.
In October, the State Department of Education asked for $273 million dollars to reinstate class size mandates, which can positively impact students and improve working conditions for teachers. This ask comes in the wake of a $612 million dollar revenue growth for next year’s budget. If the Legislature does not appropriate adequate funding for schools, they will have to pass new legislation to delay class size reforms once again. Understanding how class size limits were dismantled and what has been lost is an important lesson to share at the Capitol this session.
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