Oklahoma House, Senate vote to override Gov. Mary Fallin's veto of House Bill 2625

The Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate have voted to override Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of House Bill 2625.

Amendments to the state’s Reading Sufficiency Act were struck down by the governor Tuesday . However, because both the House and Senate originally passed HB2625 with more than 75 percent in favor, the measure was sent back to the legislature.

The House voted 79-17, while the Senate voted 45-2 to overturn the bill Wednesday afternoon. 

“This will retain the high standards set out to make sure Oklahoma students are learning to read at the appropriate level, but  the decision that a child needs to be held back won’t come down to a single high-stakes test," said Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa), vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. "It allows for a series of assessments throughout the school year, and gives our local schools, professional educators and parents greater input.” 

Under the state's Reading Sufficiency Act, third-graders who score unsatisfactory on their year-end reading assessment test are required to repeat the grade level. 

The law provides six “good cause exemptions” available to students who:

- Works with teachers to assemble a portfolio of work that demonstrates basic literacy

- Takes one of four alternative standardized reading assessments recognized by the State Board of Education

- Successfully completes a summer reading academy

- Has limited English language proficiency and have received less than two years of instruction in an English language learner program

- Has a disability and have been placed in an individual education program assessed with alternate achievement standards through the Oklahoma Alternate Assessment Program

- Has received intensive remediation in reading for more than two years and have been previously held back in either kindergarten, first, second or third grade.

Under House Bill 2625 , a student who demonstrates reading proficiency at the third-grade level by a "Student Reading Proficiency Team," a panel of local teachers and parents, is no longer subject to retention and can advance to the fourth grade on a "probationary promotion."

According to the bill's author, State Rep. Katie Henke, the district's superintendent would ultimately decide whether or not to promote the student based on their recommendation.

Tulsa Public Schools superintendent Keith Ballard said Wednesday that he and his staff will work "to ensure that all students are reading on grade level."

"It is imperative that we make parents and educators a part of the process, and I am glad to say that our legislators confirmed that position today."

Read the full bill here

The bill only allows probationary promotion to the fourth grade for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. In 2016, a third-grader reading at an unsatisfactory level based on the year-end assessment will automatically be held back.

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