Representative Chad Caldwell

Hi, I'm Chad Caldwell and I represent the people of Oklahoma's 40th District.


News & Announcements

Feb 14, 2023
Recent Posts

Curriculum Transparency Portal Bill Passes Subcommittee

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would require the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to create a website allowing parents and others to review and comment on curriculum, textbooks, and library materials used at their local schools passed the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee for Education on Monday. House Bill 2077 is authored by Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid. "As the conversation continues to be about what is being taught to children in our public schools, this seemed a commonsense solution," Caldwell said. "Let's make all curriculum and lessons publicly available through a centralized database while lessening the burden on our teachers and our schools." Caldwell explained to committee members that currently if a parent has a question about a book or material being taught in their child's classroom, the school typically holds a one-on-one meeting with them to answer questions or allow for the review of material. The website created in his legislation would create one place where parents or other community members could see the material being taught by grade level in their local school, and would allow them to comment publicly on the material. "This is about empowering parents," Caldwell said. "But it in no way dictates what the content should be, and it doesn't change any policies. Schools will still have the freedom to choose what curriculum they select and what books they carry in the library. But that will now be more easily accessible to the public." The bill specifies that the website created must include an easy-to-use interface for school district employees to upload content. It must also allow for public and private comment by users with real-time processing of comments, reviews, and feedback. Caldwell said it will be up to the OSDE working with schools to determine policies regarding how public comments will be addressed. HB2077 is now eligible to be considered by the full House A&B Committee. -END-

Oct 19, 2022

Caldwell Still Waiting on Education Accounting for Billions of Federal Relief Dollars

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, said he's been waiting almost two months for information requested from State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to give an accounting of how billions of federal relief dollars have been spent to benefit Oklahoma students. Caldwell sent a letter Sept. 1 to Hofmeister, copying her general counsel Brad Clark, requesting records related to federal COVID relief dollars. He specifically asked for the total amount of federal dollars received; total amount distributed; how much remains unspent; a description of each program receiving funds and the school districts impacted; as well as a description of the process of how each program was selected, including any related bidding process. He also asked for the total amount of encumbered funds, a list of programs those funds are encumbered for, and the distribution schedule for those funds. He requested the information by Sept. 30, giving the department the entirety of the month to produce the information. ""This is information that should be easy to get,"" Caldwell said. ""Yet the state department has failed to comply with a simple request for information. Legislators hear from our schools all the time about the need for more funding, and it appears we have money that has yet to be distributed to help them meet their needs. Unfortunately, due to the lack of response from the department of education, there is no way for us to know how much we have already spent or what to tell our schools about how much help is still to come. We have no accounting of where we are in the process."" Caldwell said he requested this information at the beginning of the school year. ""We are now more than halfway through the first semester, and I still don't know which schools have received this money or how it will benefit our students. I and other Oklahomans deserve to know how these funds are being disbursed."" Caldwell said he received an email Sept. 2 from Carolyn Thompson, director of government affairs and deputy chief of staff at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, saying his request had been received and the department would begin working to compile the information and hoped to have it to him by the end of September. On Oct. 3, he received a follow-up email saying they were still working on gathering the information requested and he should have it by the end of that week, Oct. 7. He is still waiting to receive the records. ""Unfortunately, this feels like there is a pattern here of the department being less than transparent,"" he said. He pointed to an earlier appeal by himself and 22 other lawmakers that the governor request an audit of the State Department of Education following a report from State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd that noted several deficiencies within the department. That on-going audit was called ""an attack"" by Superintendent Hofmeister. Several reports show the learning loss from COVID was extreme for Oklahoma students, with test scores the past few years well below pre-pandemic levels. The federal dollars were promised toward reading, math and other programs that could help students recover the loss, Caldwell said. ""It's imperative we get this money to our schools to help our students recover from the harm caused from the decision to close down our schools,"" he said, ""It's equally important that Oklahomans know how this public money is being spent.""