Communications & Public Affairs
June 26, 2019

Contact: State Rep. Melissa Provenzano
Phone: (405) 557-7330

Provenzano Requests Three Education-Related Interim Studies

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa), a former teacher and public school administrator, has requested three different interim studies that focus on public education policy.

“My constituents elected me because of my education background,” Provenzano said. “Those constituents feel like I do that Oklahoma needs to recommit itself to education not only through funding but also through smart, data-driven policy. These studies are meant to provide a better understanding of the topic and to provide lawmakers, both republicans and democrats, with the data necessary to make wise and informed decisions regarding public education.”

The topics of the studies requested are as follows:

1. Creating the Workforce Oklahoma Businesses Need

This study would examine avenues to improve the relationship of public schools with Oklahoma businesses and increase the scale of collaboration to create workforce-ready individuals for the industries that are here and can’t find the workers they need to fill the jobs they have.

2. Virtual School Attendance Policies

The Virtual School Attendance Policies Study looks to better understand the possible disconnect between attendance rate and student performance in the virtual charter school system, and propose possible legislation to support increased graduation rates for virtual charter schools that more closely mimics brick and mortar schools success rates with regard to attendance and test scores.

3. Student Loan Debt Examination in Oklahoma – Borrowers Bill of Rights

Working with local agencies, the Student Loan Debt Examination Study would examine the student loan debt crisis in Oklahoma and work to propose possible legislation that will lead to fewer Oklahoma students with extreme student loan debt. The study would also examine what other states have done to ease this burden, and possibly explore a “Borrower’s Bill of Rights” that looks similar to the documentation provided when applying for a credit card or securing a home loan.

“These studies address top concerns among business leaders, education leaders and thousands of Oklahomans managing their way through student loan debt,” Provenzano said. “I requested these studies because I want lawmakers to have this information when we talk about education policy during the 2020 session.”

Representatives are allowed to request interim studies, but ultimately, the decision on whether the studies are approved resides with the Speaker of the House. All studies will be approved or disapproved by July 19, according to the Speaker’s office.