In a breathtakingly short four hours, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that state’s board of education can forget its arrogant idea that they trump the Oklahoma Legislature on important education decisions.
As Joy Pullmann at the Heartland Institute reports, “The board of education argued the legislature has no constitutional right to determine public school curriculum and tests.” Pullmann says the court found this state agency nonsense is “Preposterous.”
The ruling in Oklahoma has implications that go far beyond the borders of that state. It reaffirms that even in areas of standards and curriculum, state legislatures with similar constitutions are the final authority over what the state’s schools teach.
However, it is necessary for legislators to step up to their responsibilities. Because legislators are ultimately responsible for education, they cannot push off that accountability to other, lower-level state agencies.
This is a school choice win because in most states with good school choice laws, the state education bureaucracy has not been supportive, at least initially, and it took legislative action to create choices for students and parents.
So, the new ruling certainly is a win for Oklahoma parents. It confirms control of their schools is the responsibility of their accountable, elected officials, not bureaucratic education agencies which traditionally have proved far less interested in parent concerns. Because Oklahoma is a charter school state, this new court ruling will undoubtedly help that state’s public schools of choice to continue to offer viable alternatives to traditional public schools unfettered with the entanglements found in Common Core’s one size must fit all set of standards.
The case may set a precedent for other states with similar constitutions, which very well may include Kentucky, where a 1989 supreme court ruling already says that the legislature, not any other agency, has ultimate authority and responsibility for education.