Secretary of Education Ryan Walters Plans to ‘Eliminate’ Educational Accountability Commission He Leads

KOKH-OKC - October 31, 2022 6:53 am

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters

It’s a little-known state office with a pretty big task. The Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA) oversees teacher performance and school reviews.

The person in charge is Secretary of Education Ryan Walters.

Walters is very vocal about the things that matter most to him and his State Superintendent campaign.

We’re now learning that he already has a significant role in things he says are at issue with education in the state.

OEQA was created in 2012 to merge the Office of Accountability and the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation.

The Office is tasked with reviewing schools, overseeing teacher certifications and making recommendations on how to increase transparency and efficiency with funds.

Going through the most recent school reviews, In May this year it recommended the creation of a budget document for Crescent Public Schools.

In a June 2021 review of the Mid-Del district, the recommendations included cutting more than 60 teachers, increasing first-year teacher pay from $38,000 to $40,000, and shutting the doors of four of its elementary schools.

The Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability schedules meetings once a month.

The person who sits as the Chair of those meetings is Secretary Walters.

So far the commission has met three times this year in February, August and October.

The rest of the monthly meetings were canceled.

The Executive Director of the Office said the cancellations are usually due to merging agenda items, or there aren’t enough members present for a quorum.

While Secretary Walters chairs the commission, the Executive Director confirmed that this year, Walters has not attended one meeting, despite attending every meeting in 2021.

When FOX25 asked Walters why he hasn’t shown up, he sent a statement saying, “It’s a layer of government that should not exist, and I’m working on eliminating the agency and retiring the money to taxpayers.”

In his absence, the commission has covered information about school testing and performance levels for U.S. history during its August meeting.

It’s a topic Walters has spoken out about during his campaign for State Superintendent.

“What we have to have is true history taught in schools. Kids need to know about the founding, they need to know that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, they need to know about the constitution,” Walters said in a video posted on twitter.

In our FOX25 State Superintendent debate, he expressed the same rhetoric. “I think our students test scores show that history is not being taught the way it should.”

The state’s academic standards show that as early as 2nd grade, students learn about the Constitution.

5th graders are learning about the Declaration of Independence, Constitutional Convention and the Bill of Rights.

Since the start of his campaign, Walters has been vocal about his education concerns at our debate podium and on social media, but not on the Commission he chairs.

Now, he is adamant that the agency he had an active voice on a year ago, should be removed altogether.

 

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