Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Government News

May 20, 2011

Education Reform: Facts and Fiction

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Education reform has been a major part of this year’s session. Unfortunately, some individuals have attempted to mislead the public about those bills.

I have heard from several constituents who were told I have voted to do away with teacher tenure and voted to get rid of teachers for any reason.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is sad that some people would rather make up wild allegations than debate the merits of issues.

House Bill 1380 makes it easier to dismiss underperforming teachers. While most teachers do a good job, we all know of teachers who do not. Parents regularly try to have their children placed in the “good” teacher’s classes.

Unfortunately, the current system incentivizes schools to keep even the worst teachers rather than deal with the cost of dismissal. That’s because tenured teachers who are dismissed by local school boards can currently appeal that decision in district court. Oklahoma was one of only a handful of states that employed that system.

The appeals process, known as “trial de novo,” can be very expensive. The Oklahoman reported that it cost Purcell Public Schools around $80,000 to fire a teacher later charged with lewd acts with a child.

As that example shows, the bill is not designed to make it easier to fire every teacher; it is designed to make it easier to fire those who clearly need go.

The bill maintains legal due-process rights for teachers and even with ending trial de novo it will still be very rare that a teacher’s contract is terminated.

Under House Bill 1380, the school boards who hire teachers will also have the ability to fire them. And since board members have to answer to local parents at the polls, there is an added level of accountability to ensure that board members do not act rashly.

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Government News
  • Weeding Process Continues At Capitol

    The first major deadline of the legislative session has now passed with work on House bills in the chamber completed on March 15.

    March 22, 2012

  • DHS Reforms Advance

    This week was the last one for House bills to be considered in their chamber of origin, and we took up several major issues.

    Among the most important were measures reforming the Department of Human Services.

    March 15, 2012

  • Annual GAO Report Exposes More Duplication in the Federal Budget, Less Responsibility Coming Out of Washington

    Members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Chairman Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statements today regarding the second annual Government Accountability Office (GAO) report identifying ongoing duplication and areas for costs savings throughout the federal government.

    February 28, 2012

  • Roberts Seeks Local Control on Meth Issue

    Legislation filed by state Rep. Sean Roberts would allow local communities to impose ordinances designed to reduce meth crime.

                House Bill 2802, by Roberts, would allow towns to decide if the meth ingredient pseudoephedrine should require a prescription.

    February 24, 2012

  • Lawmakers Focus on Meth Problem

    The challenge of combating methamphetamine was a major focus of lawmakers this week. Two significant bills were voted on in House committee. One failed, and one progressed.

    February 23, 2012

  • Coburn, Burr Unveil Plan to Save Medicare, the Seniors’ Choice Act

    Today, U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) unveiled the Seniors’ Choice Act, a legislative proposal to help America’s seniors by building a stronger, more sustainable Medicare program through immediate and longer-term reforms, many rooted in long-standing, bipartisan ideas. Non-partisan experts have warned the current Medicare program is facing insolvency due to unsustainable growth, and the Seniors’ Choice Act would fix its shortcomings so that it remains a viable option for seniors participating in the program now and for future enrollees.

    February 16, 2012

  • Fallin highlights more cuts to Oklahma income tax

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin provided more details of her plan to cut the personal income tax for all Oklahomans during her State of the State address to lawmakers on Monday, but had few specifics on how she plans to pay for the ambitious proposal.

    February 6, 2012

  • Lawmaker seeks spending limit on Okla. Legislature

    An Oklahoma lawmaker is pushing legislation that would place new constitutional limits on state spending.

    Republican state Rep. Elise Hall of Oklahoma City says that Oklahoma's public sector could grow too fast without more spending limits.

    January 27, 2012

  • 2011 Wastebook Dr. Coburn Releases New Report on Wasteful Government Spending in 2011:

    U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2011” that highlights over $6.5 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted. This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government. 

     

    December 20, 2011 1 Photo

  • House unveils DHS strategy

    House Speaker Kris Steele and a bipartisan group of five representatives today unveiled the first steps of a strategy to reform the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

    The House’s aggressive, four-pronged strategy is designed to improve DHS through significant study of and potential reforms to governance structure, agency structure, personnel policy and resource allocation. The plan is in response to a shared desire between House members, agency officials and other stakeholders to improve delivery of services by DHS, particularly for children in state custody.

    October 19, 2011

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    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

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