EDITOR'S NOTE: While this list is extensive, it is not complete and will continue to be updated. Know of any legislation that's not on this list? Let us know here.
- Following a teachers strike last year, as well as continued activism among the state’s teachers, a bill in the Oklahoma legislature — which started its session on Feb. 4 — would make it illegal for educators to “strike or threaten to strike or otherwise close schools or interfere with school operations as a means of resolving differences.” Critics say this violates educators’ First Amendment rights.
- Weeks after the U.S. Education Department announced an initiative examining the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, state Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, proposed a bill that would “prohibit the use of seclusion and restraint as a punishment” and require a professional development tool to train school staff on behavioral strategies.
- The state’s education funding formula could see revisions, thanks to a bill proposed by state Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, that would weight students differently in the distribution of funding, depending on factors including their grade level or whether they are economically disadvantaged. Virtual schools could also get funding with the passage of Senate Bill 54, which was proposed by Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, and moves to stop providing per-pupil funding and instead fund the students who don’t fail their classes.
- State Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, filed a joint resolution that would leave it to voters to decide whether a state legislator can return to being a teacher after leaving office. Under current state policy, lawmakers can’t take a job that’s paid with state dollars within two years after they step down from their policymaking roles.
- Teacher pay will also reappear this session. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, proposed a House bill that would award certified teachers a one-time bonus of up to $10,000 if they return to the classroom, and Rep. Jacob Rosencrants, D-Norman, proposed another House bill that would bump up bonuses for National Board-certified teachers and provide a financial incentive to attract them to work in a high-needs school. Gov. Kevin Stitt has also said he wants to raise teacher pay once again.
- Lastly, a Senate bill moves to change the date by which a child must turn a certain age to be eligible to enroll in pre-K or kindergarten.