Press Releases

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Decries DOE Denial of Waiver to Oklahoma

Washington, DC, August 28, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Washington D.C., August 28, 2014 | comments

Today, the US Department of Education (DOEd) announced it will deny the Oklahoma State Department of Education's request for flexibility, or a waiver from the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for the 2014-2015 school year. This means Oklahoma schools will be subject to the provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Under NCLB, one hundred percent of students must be determined to be "proficient" on assessments, or else schools are considered failing and subject to monetary penalties and potential takeovers.

"The State of Oklahoma took a key step earlier this summer in reestablishing primacy over the education of our students by voting to repeal Common Core, which has been used as a tool to nationalize curriculum," said Congressman Bridenstine. "The Federal Government is now punishing Oklahoma for not conforming to federal control of education."

The US Department of Education granted ESEA waivers to nearly all states based on several criteria, with one of the key requisites being each state must have "college and career-ready" standards, as determined by DOEd. One such set of standards is Common Core, which many states, including Oklahoma, adopted to meet this requirement. However, on June 5th, HB 3399 was signed into law, which repealed Common Core, and required Oklahoma to develop a new set of "college and career-ready" standards by 2016.

"Even though Oklahoma continues to meet the rest of the standards for the ESEA waiver, and is actively working toward new, state-developed standards, our students will be punished because Oklahoma is not conforming to federalized education," Bridenstine continued. "This is nothing more than a bullying tactic and an excuse for a federal takeover of schools.

"The federal government has no constitutional basis for involvement in our education system. This is the purview of the states and local school districts. Oklahoma acted well within its rights to reject a national curriculum, and I encourage them to resist any attempts by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to take over our schools. In the meantime, I will continue to work to reduce the federal government's current role in education, including the elimination of the Department of Education." 

Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director
Phone: 202-225-2211
Email Address:

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Tags: Education