- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Even if Oklahoma’s outdated education standards are determined to properly prepare students for college, state officials say there’s little they can do this school year to regain control of federal funding stripped from the state.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will meet Thursday in Oklahoma City to vote on whether Oklahoma’s current Priority Academic Student Skills, or PASS, education standards are “college and career ready.” Such a designation could allow the state to reapply for a federal waiver that was stripped after the Oklahoma Legislature voted earlier this year to ditch national academic standards known as Common Core.

But State Department of Education spokeswoman Tricia Pemberton said even if the regents agree the older standards are adequate, Oklahoma isn’t expected to even apply for a federal waiver until the 2015-2016 school year.

“We’ve had no indication that we can seek an immediate waiver,” Pemberton said.

Oklahoma reverted to the PASS standards under legislation approved this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal Common Core, a national benchmark for what students should learn in such subjects as math and English that had been adopted in more than 40 states. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education hit the state with a sanction under the No Child Left Behind Act because the state could no longer demonstrate that its school standards were preparing students for college and careers. Oklahoma lost flexibility over how it spends about $29 million in federal funding.

Meanwhile, state legislators held a series of meetings this week at the state Capitol to discuss how to implement new college-ready standards for students.

State Rep. Ann Coody, the chairman of the House Common Education Committee, said school officials from several districts voiced frustration about reverting back to outdated standards.

“We’re hearing from many, many schools,” said Coody, R-Lawton.

The state Board of Education has appointed a steering committee to oversee the development of a new set of standards by 2016.

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