She Took Her Ball and Went Home
Today at the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) conference, State Superintendent Janet Barresi participated – along with her challengers – in a candidate forum. By participated, of course, I mean that she spoke and then left. She didn’t stick around, as the other candidates did.
Maybe she was mad at seeing one of her former board members there. Maybe she was mad that another candidate alluded to the fact that Barresi’s campaign manager Jennifer Carter is married to Oklahoman editorial writer Ray Carter. In any case, storming out with other candidates waiting to speak was a move without dignity.
She called in her speech for districts to rearrange their budgets and give each teacher a $2,000 pay raise. This shows that she is either really savvy or really ignorant. In any case, she’s completely disingenuous.
On one hand, she is using flawed math to try to tell teachers that their employers are holding out on them. Yes, school districts aim to carry over funds from the end of one fiscal year to the next. This helps them meet costs that they face since they don’t get state aid checks right away. She also neglects to mention that by eating at the carry over, the raises would have to be a one-time thing. Districts wouldn’t have those funds available next year. She also employs straw man rhetoric, blaming districts for having too many administrators. She neglects to mention the increased requirements for administrators due to TLE and other reforms.
On the other hand, someone reading the headline and nothing else (and having spent the last three years not paying attention at all) might think Barresi supports teachers. This is her goal: to say that she’s been on the side of teachers all along.
If you really want to know what Barresi thinks of educators, read my True Colors post from 13 months ago. She doesn’t think teachers deserve more. She thinks they need to quit complaining.
No amount of rebranding and faulty logic can change that.
You can view the candidate forum here. Barresi’s seven minute speech begins at about the 29 minute mark.