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In response to actions by State Superintendent Ryan Walters, state representatives in a committee of the Oklahoma House voted 10-1 to advance HB 2569. If passed, the bill would limit the powers of the state superintendent by requiring legislative approval before altering school accreditation rules.
The move came just days after Walters proposed new rules that could jeopardize districts across the state.
The first rule allows a school accreditation to be downgraded if any “sexually explicit” books were found in their library. Walters’ second rule would require schools to tell parents if their child uses pronouns different from those assigned at birth.
In order to block what many deemed to be an overreach by Supt. Walters, Representative Mark McBride introduced HB 2569.
On Tuesday, eight Republicans and two Democrats agreed to advance the bill to the full House.
Republicans angered by Ryan Walters’ attacks on public education
In Tuesday’s committee meeting, McBride, a Republican, voiced his frustration regarding Walters’ actions after six weeks on the job.
“All he has done is take pictures off the wall,” McBride said in reference to Ryan Walters removing the portraits of famous educators, such as F.D. Moon. “We need to focus on public education, not his crazy destruction of public education.”
In addition to HB 2569, McBride also introduced another bill to increase the number of seats on the state board of education. Currently, the Governor has total control over who sits on the board. However, after taking office for his second term, Governor Stitt ousted several sitting members and replaced them with individuals who have no public education experience.
McBride’s bill would seek to limit the number of what he calls Walters’ “yes men” and “yes women” on the board. If passed, the board would expand from 7 members to 11. The four additional members would be nominated and approved by the legislature.
McBride expressed confidence that both bills will pass the house, but is unsure if they will make it through the senate.