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Republican State Leaders Target Public Education (Feb 15, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With strengthened GOP majorities in the House and Senate and a new Republican governor eager to make changes to Oklahoma's public education system, lawmakers have approved a number of bills designed to overhaul education in the state.

The Senate Education Committee on Monday approved several measures touted by the GOP leadership, including one that prohibits advancing students to the next grade until they can read at grade level. Other bills would require the state Department of Education to issue letter grades for public schools based on performance and restructure the state Board of Education by adding the governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Republican lawmakers are looking to strip power from the board appointed by former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry after a contentious meeting last month with new Republican state Superintendent Janet Barresi.

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