Barresi’s Radio Interview with KFAQ
Superintendent Barresi has been tossing around labels such as liberal to describe anybody who opposes her on anything and words such as conservative. This tweet is a good example.
If you don’t want to take the time to listen to the entire 13-minute interview, I’ll give you my takeaways:
- She is “all in” on the Common Core.
- She doesn’t want Oklahoma to have anything to do with national science or social studies standards.
- She thinks Oklahoma educators have significant input in the test development process.
- She thinks the ACT assessments are not appropriate for Oklahoma standards.
- She has concerns about data-mining nationally but thinks Oklahoma’s student information system is completely secure.
My quick thoughts:
- Barresi’s own party has grave concerns about the Common Core. Yesterday, members of the legislature held an interim study on the Common Core. Oklahoma Capitol Source has thorough notes on the hearing, including the testimony of three out-of-state presenters. The facts about the genesis of Common Core are in there, though I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion that national standards are a slippery slope to communism. It’s notable that while Barresi paints herself as a conservative, other Oklahoma Republicans remain unconvinced.
- Wholesale adoption of the Common Core for reading and math was fine. With science and social studies, we have to watch out for liberals and facts.
- There’s a big difference between having input from educators and actually listening to the people you’ve invited to the table. This has been a problem for three years now. It’s sort of like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry tells the rental car company “You know how to take the reservation. You just don’t know how to hold the reservation.” Seeking input when your mind is already set is neither good leadership nor good customer service.
- Barresi states in the interview that her concern with the ACT assessments that are available from third through 12th grade is that they don’t go “deep enough into the information.” That shows a complete lack of understanding of the standards. The Common Core is not an information-based set of standards. It is a collection of descriptions of tasks students should be able to complete. Standardized testing is not about students rattling off facts. Neither is most classroom instruction. The ACT is a college-entrance exam. Barresi continuously tells groups she wants students to be college, career, and citizenship ready. The ACT also has a careers component embedded in their assessment. Their tests would provide an articulated set of results that would compare well from year to year. Plus, no college is ever going to care how Oklahoma students perform on tests we pay testing company X to develop for us.
- I’m not an expert in Oklahoma’s student information system. I hear a lot of complaints about its effectiveness. So I’ll stay fairly silent on this issue. The theme is consistent, at least: anything national is bad; anything local is good.