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Local & Regional

State Department of Education Submits Eight-Year Plan to Federal Government

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Oklahoma has sent its eight-year public education plan to the U.S. Department of Education.

The 218 page plan, called Oklahoma Edge, shows how federal dollars will be spent under the Every Student Succeeds Act. ESSA gives states more spending leeway than its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, did.

The plan takes a more student-by-student approach to public education, including a goal of developing an individualized career academic plan for every student by 2025.

"So that by sixth grade through 12th grade, they are on track for reaching their aspirations with a particular skill set that will allow them to hit the ground running when they start in that postsecondary education," State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said in August while describing some of the plan during the Tulsa Regional Chamber's State of Education event.

In all, Oklahoma Edge includes six goals to achieve by 2025. Another is reducing the need for emergency-certified teachers 95 percent. The state just set a record in emergency certification approvals, 1,429, at the August State Board of Education meeting.

"And that meant that they had not yet been trained or had not received certification — hadn't even been tested in an alternative certification route to join the ranks," Hofmeister said.

The plan's other goals are being among the top 10 states in graduation rates in four-, five- and six-year cohorts; making sure at least 75 percent of students are ready to read when they start kindergarten; cutting in half the need for math and English remediation after high school; and scoring in the top 20 states in all subjects on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

"NAEP is the nation's report card. It's a tool that is given to all states, and it is in the fourth and eighth grade," Hofmeister said. "And we want to see our kids showing up as competitive and ready to move into college without need for remediation."

The individualized approach to public education is also reflected in some Oklahoma Edge initiatives, like increasing access to food programs, supporting students with parents in prison and finding teachers who need additional training.

Hofmeister said the plan emphasizes that every child, teacher and school can succeed.