Proposed school transfer bill looks to make Oklahoma education equal for all students

A bill at the Oklahoma state Capitol would allow students at public schools to transfer schools anywhere and any time they want, which is not how it works right now.

Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters spoke with KOCO 5 about the bill and some of the questions it raises.

“A student could transfer to another public school if they want, and the receiving school would receive them as long as they have capacity,” Walters said.

Under Oklahoma law, there is a limited window a student can request a transfer, and the request can be denied for many reasons.

“We hear stories all over the state of some students that are allowed to transfer and some students that aren’t. And they’re not given a reason for that,” Walters said. “We want a student who says, ‘I want to go there. I want that teacher.’ We want them to be able to do that.”

But how do you make sure it’s fair? For example, some students may have the luxury of a parent who can drive them an extra 30 minutes for better opportunities.

“That’s a key point. This is closer to being equitable,” Walters said. “The transfer bill goes a long way in ensuring that students have access to a quality education, and it’s not determined by where they live.”

But he agrees that transportation, which is not part of the bill right now, could still be an obstacle.

“There’s no requirement in this that schools provide transportation outside their district. So you are correct, that will still be an impediment,” Walters said. “This at least does make the system more equitable, but there’s going to be further work to be done.”

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