Home > Uncategorized > Barresi’s Radio Interview with KFAQ

Barresi’s Radio Interview with KFAQ

September 25, 2013

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:

  1. She is “all in” on the Common Core.
  2. She doesn’t want Oklahoma to have anything to do with national science or social studies standards.
  3. She thinks Oklahoma educators have significant input in the test development process.
  4. She thinks the ACT assessments are not appropriate for Oklahoma standards.
  5. She has concerns about data-mining nationally but thinks Oklahoma’s student information system is completely secure.

My quick thoughts:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. September 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I have been to ALL of the published P-20 meetings on the data collection. I qualify “published” because they started having unpublished subcommittee meetings when they figured out we weren’t stupid. They are collecting 400 points of data on students to sell to “stakeholders” which is any business or educrats interested in their information. We tried to get a law passed that would require parental consent, but John Kramen came over to the legislature and rewrote it to make it useless. He is the Student Data guy (from Achieve and the highest paid person at the Oklahoma Dept. of Ed). So we have our Dept. of Ed WRITING law so that parents don’t interfere with the collection of data on our children. What is even more ridiculous, is that the Feds will use that same data AGAINST us as a state to make sure we comply to the NEXT round of requirements. Slippery slope?


  2. September 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Also, Brad Henry signed the History and Science Standards into law by executive order before he left office. Just because they say it over and over does not make it true.


    • September 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      For clarification, can you tell us what standards are you talking about that he signed into law? I was under the impression that there were no History or Science standards written at that time except for the Literacy standards within the CC ELA. The Next Gen Science standards hadn’t been released yet.

      Thanks for the clarification.


  3. Jennifer Burch
    September 25, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I’m at a state Regents workshop where they’ve said more than once that the ACT, PLAN and EXPLORE test system (EPAS) is aligned to common core. Seems like Dr. Barresi wants to push is toward SAT and College Board. I’d like to “follow the money.”


  4. Kevin Burr
    September 25, 2013 at 11:31 am

    ACT’s new roll-out of ASPIRE will provide an interesting approach to a fully-aligned set of assessments that tell us much more about our students and their readiness (along a continuum) than do our current state assessments.


  5. Rob R
    September 25, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    This is most interesting. The question about lowering of standards… that was very interesting. The complaint about school report cards had to do with either mis-use of standards or misleading numbers. For instance, attendance is part of a school’s report card. Under current law there is almost nothing a school can do to get parents to bring children to school if they do not want to. Why would this be included in the “school” score? The argument has not been about “standards” at all. It has been about a fair system that might actually mean something.


  6. September 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I agree that the ACT is not aligned to our current standards. For the math portion, the majority of test is content that is taught in 7-9th grade, then Geometry (much of which is middle school level) and the a little bit of trig. The math test is challenging for students (from what I have seen) because of the time and the fact that the test is really designed so that you don’t work problems out but rather reason through them. If a student tries to work every problem out, they will run out of time.
    The science portion is 99% science reasoning. It is not really content test.
    I don’t think that either one of these is a negative thing. I think we do need to teach are students to think and reason. The ACT is obviously important for students and I would like to see schools able to focus on it more. But, to say that the ACT is aligned to standards may be inaccurate.
    I think I would have more concerns about the vast amount of “ACT test prep” materials out there that students/parents can purchase. Could this set up another inequity for the students who can’t afford those materials? I am not sure, but it is a concern that has been brought up.
    I am also wondering about students on IEPs. I know that the ACT offers accommodations per a students IEP. This is an area I just don’t know enough about but would like to hear more.

    I think the ASPIRE assessments from ACT can address some of these concerns. I would love to learn more about them as well.


    • September 27, 2013 at 6:47 am

      The current ACT/PLAN/EXPLORE assessments will be replaced by 2015. Hmmm, seems like that’s not the only thing that will be replaced by 2015.


  7. Caroline Brown
    September 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

    It would be really nice if someone could explain to me in a nut shell what common core is. This may seem like a strange request, but in my district if you don’t teach an eoi subject, you were not included in any of the common core meetings, and I have no clue what common core is and what it is supposed to do!


    • September 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Caroline, you should check out Diane Ravitch’s blog – dianeravitch.net – or, even better, read her book, The Reign of Error.


  1. September 26, 2013 at 7:29 am
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