Home > Uncategorized > I, too will be damned!

I, too will be damned!

November 8, 2013

“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the unions or anyone else in the education establishment lose another generation of Oklahoma’s children.”

-Janet Barresi, November 8, 2013

In response to the OEA’s internet poll in which participants gave Janet Barresi an F as state superintendent, she once again lashed out at the people who actually work with kids every day. I don’t know if you can listen to that quote and somehow not be offended. It’s hard for me.

I don’t spend a lot of time on this blog talking about unions, and for good reason. This blog is about education policy. I focus on the rules and decisions people make and how those impact the profession. Sometimes that dovetails with what the unions do, but not always.

Nobody enters the profession thinking they want to join something. Teachers want to work with children. Or they love their content areas. They join their union (or association, depending on how they’ve organized themselves) for a variety of reasons. Or they don’t. I’m not sure what percentage of teachers belongs to OEA, AFT, POE, or any other teacher group. Whatever it is, they are some of the most dedicated people working in the schools.

That’s also not to say that that the teachers who don’t belong to their union are less dedicated. A lot of what can predict union membership is the culture of the school. In some places, it’s not a priority. But nowhere is it required.

The other members of the education establishment to whom she refers are administrators. Again, I don’t know the percentages, but many join their principal organizations or CCOSA, the umbrella group that serves all of them, providing support and advocacy. They began their careers in the classroom – as teachers.

What offends me though, more than the rampant misidentification and straw man fallacy, is the statement after the profanity. Which of the 2,000 regular readers (or the readers who receive this as a forward in your email) think you’ve contributed to the loss of a generation of Oklahoma’s children? If I were completely honest, the language she used in that statement would be mild compared to what I really want to say.

Instead, here are my nice words.

When the SDE needed help rolling out reforms such as TLE and the Common Core, they enlisted the help of veteran educators – some through the OEA, and some through CCOSA. Think whatever you want about teacher unions, but when the SDE needed someone to do the heavy lifting, they called the OEA.And those $2,000 raises Barresi has been clamoring for at campaign whistlestops? Those would go to the teachers who have … what was the phrase again … oh yeah, lost generations of children. 

I’ve spent every day of my career trying to help children. Some come to me with every advantage in the world. I try to help them. Some come broken by life. Their parents, the foster care system, something somewhere has let them down. I try to help them too. They all deserve nothing but the best, and on any given day, I may be the only one with an opportunity to tell them that. It takes working with children every day to know that.

And I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to let some half-wit politician make me feel differently.

  1. Tracy Bayles
    November 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    OK…That’s the last straw!
    I have spent the last 30 years of my life dedicated to Oklahoma children who have become doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and yes…even dentists!
    How dare Janet Baressi play politics with the lives of our children!
    I now think it is official…Dr. Baressi lives in the “Land of Oz”. She plays each of the characters quite well…like Tin Man, she has NO HEART…like the Scarecrow, she has NO BRAINS, and…like the Cowardly Lion, she has NO COURAGE!
    A “REAL” STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION truly LOVES our children, is EDUCATED in instruction, and has the COURAGE to stand WITH our educators, our parents, and our communities to provide our children with the very best resources possible.
    Instead Baressi seems to think she is “THE WIZARD” sitting pompously on her throne!
    NEWSFLASH Janet: Oklahomans have just pulled back the curtain and…I’ll be damned if it isn’t the WICKED WITCH!


    • Brooke
      November 9, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Excellent analogy!


      • CJ
        November 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

        I think you have nailed it with that analogy. She doesn’t even believe the schools should provide shelter against the twisters! I would like to send her over the rainbow in the next election.


  2. November 9, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Janet Barresi has no clue what is happening in Oklahoma Schools. She clearly walked in the door with an agenda that she is driving, along with Jeb Bush and Mary Fallin. She is determined to put it in place come hell or high water. We must remove her and change directions to save education and the opportunities for students in public education!


  3. Patti Ferguson-Palmer
    November 9, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Thank you for being a consistent voice of reason in the increasingly unreasonable and irrational discussion of Oklahoma’s public schools. If Dentist Barresi really cares about the children in our schools, she should come spend a couple of days as a substitute in one of our highest-poverty North Tulsa schools.


  4. T. Garrett
    November 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Educators, please remember the only way this will change is next election…. Educators, in mass, can control the outcome of any election. We must all get out and vote!


    • tmart
      November 10, 2013 at 6:42 am

      teachers NOT voting is what got her in. no intelligent teacher would have voted for her to begin with, but this is what happens when you DON’T vote!


  5. Brooke
    November 9, 2013 at 8:54 am



  6. Johnny Caudle
    November 9, 2013 at 11:27 am

    For those who think our Superintendent “doesn’t have a clue,” I would disagree. I think she wants to dismantle “public” education in favor of education for the few. She’s doing a great job.


  7. Karen Vance
    November 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    We need to make sure she loses the primary election so if you are a Democrat, please change for the primary. Joy Hofmeister will be running against her and she is an exceptional candidate. She needs funding since Barresi has the Ok City Thunder owner, Koch Industries and Walmart heirs to support her campaign.


    • Brooke
      November 9, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      I get so frustrated when people start telling all the democrats to change to republican for their R primary. There are excellent democratic candidates running who need support in their own primary. Making this a “party” issue is not the way to fix it. Voting for a candidate with ACTUAL ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE in a PUBLIC school (not charter) is the way to start turning this situation around. I’ve listened to Joy on 3 separate occasions. She is very nice and very “cheerleader”; however, she has no administrative experience in public schools and she is the President of a for-profit tutoring company (Komen of S. Tulsa). These are the two main reasons I am not choosing to support her. Selecting someone based off of party affiliation alone is exactly how we ended up with Barresi. I encourage everyone to research and evaluate ALL of the candidates.


    • Brooke
      November 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      And if you had looked at the most recent quarterly reports, you would already know that Joy has more money than Barresi in her campaign fund at this point. She has plenty of financial supporters.


      • Heather M
        November 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

        The reality of the current political climate of Oklahoma is that only a Republican will get elected. The reason Barresi got elected is because she had an R by her name. I have met Joy and she is likeable and willing to listen to career educators and those with administrative experience. I think she is a strong candidate to unseat Barresi.


  8. Jenny Cooper
    November 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I retired from 43 years of teaching two years ago. I was looking forward to an enjoyable retirement. Now I am stressed, wondering how I am going to find all of this lost generation who have become doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, dentists, nurses, accountants, TEACHERS, accountants, ad infinitum. Where do I start the search?


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