The State Board of Education today opened a 60-day public comment period for proposed rules pertaining to changes in the Oklahoma Reading Sufficiency Act, enacted with the passage of Senate Bill 346 in May.
A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16. The State Board of Education will consider adopting the proposed rules at its regular board meeting Feb. 23.
The public may comment on proposed rules, which address third-grade retention, criteria for good cause exemptions to retention and mid-year promotion, as provided by law.
“Reading is the foundation of education,” state Superintendent Janet Barresi said. “If you can’t read, you can’t really do anything else in school. This act is about identifying at-risk children at an early age and giving them the help they need to be successful in school and eventually in college, career and life.”
SB 346 puts an end to social promotion for students not reading on grade level by the end of third grade. It requires school districts, beginning this school year to adopt research-proven screening tools that will help identify children beginning in kindergarten who are not reading on grade level. Districts then must offer remediation services including additional instruction time, tutoring or other supports. Students will have multiple opportunities to take reading tests before being retained.
Only third-grade students who score unsatisfactory on the reading portion of the exam, or those scoring below 50 percent, will be retained beginning in the 2013-14 school year. Students may qualify for good cause exemptions as outlined in statute or may qualify for mid-year promotion.
Teri Brecheen, executive director of reading and literacy for the state Department of Education, said the earlier a reading difficulty is found in a child the greater the opportunity to help them.
“Systematic and direct instruction is what struggling readers need,” Brecheen said. “We need to make every effort to make sure each child in our state learns to read.”
To view the rules or an impact statement, go to http://ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/Rules-Ch15Sub27ReadSuffAct.pdf or http://www.ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/documents/files/RIS15-27.pdf.
Send comments to State Board of Education Office, 2500 N Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105.