Governor Fallin today signed into law Senate Bill 1797, a measure that consolidates existing teacher accountability and preparation entities into a single Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (EQA) in order to save taxpayer money while streamlining existing education accountability initiatives. The initiative was among Governor Fallin's 2012 legislative agenda items.
Under SB 1797, the existing Office of Accountability, now under the direction of the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education, will be combined with the Teacher Preparation Commission to form the EQA office. Functions of the Teacher Preparation Commission will be managed by the EQA office. The measure also restructures the Education Oversight Board and renames it the Commission for Education, Instruction Quality and Accountability. The secretary of education will serve as chair of the commission and oversee the EQA office.
After consolidating the Office of Accountability and the Teacher Preparation Commission into the EQA, SB 1797 instructs the new agency to achieve a savings rate of 15 percent.
"Our success as a state depends on the quality of our educational system," Fallin said. "Not only will Senate Bill 1797 save taxpayer dollars by consolidating agencies and streamlining existing functions, it will strengthen and enhance accountability for teacher preparation, education data analysis and evaluation of education policy. These reforms will help ensure our students are well educated and that our state is producing the skilled workforce needed by the business community."
Secretary Phyllis Hudecki said the new legislation will help further improve the educational system in Oklahoma.
"These reforms will save tax dollars by streamlining existing initiatives and ensure we are providing the necessary accountability in order to give our state the high-quality educational system it deserves," Hudecki said.
The measure was sponsored by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Lee Denney.
"Senate Bill 1797 is another important education reform for our state," Fallin said. "I want to thank Senator Jolley and Representative Denney for their commitment to education and their leadership in seeing this measure passed into law."