I get confused sometimes with my social media days. Is it Man-Crush Wednesday and Follow Thursdays? And what’s the one with the talking camel?
I guess that’s not really terribly important. Today, I want to show you a quote from a couple of years ago and see if you can guess who said it and about whom. Bonus points if you can figure out from whose website I lifted it.
“_____ has spent her entire adult life working in the field of education. She is a teacher with hands-on classroom experience, an executive with private sector experience, and a researcher with a passion for finding ways to improve our schools and boost student performance. Her experience, dedication and passion for reform will serve her well.”
To make you think for a few seconds, I’m going to insert a series of tweets that have nothing to do with the quote or one another (or do they?).
The quote above comes from Jason Nelson’s blog dated January 13, 2012. The speaker is Mary Fallin, and the subject is Joy Hofmeister, on the occasion of her selection to the State Board of Education. I’m not sure how much research the governor and her staff did before selecting Joy for the SBE, but I doubt it was as thorough as what the Tulsa World reports Janet Barresi’s campaign is doing:
State Superintendent Janet Barresi’s campaign has requested all communications records between Jenks Public Schools employees and Republican challenger Joy Hofmeister dating back to 2007, a move Hofmeister said is just another “public intimidation tactic.”
Barresi’s campaign manager, Sam Stone, made the Open Records request by letter on Jan. 28 and asked that they be available for inspection by Feb. 10 or Feb. 17.
“It’s part of doing our research on Joy. We’re trying to flesh out her positions on the issues,” he said.
“It is certainly not a surprise to learn that Janet Barresi is scrambling to dig up dirt on me or anyone else who asks questions or dares to hold her accountable for her failed leadership,” Hofmeister said. “This is her style. It is nothing more than an attempt to bully and intimidate.”
All four of Hofmeister’s children have attended Jenks Public Schools since kindergarten. Only one child, a son, remains in Jenks Public Schools. He is a senior.
She also has been a member of the board of the Jenks Public Schools Foundation.
[Jenks CIO Bonnie] Rogers has worked since receiving the request compiling thousands of emails and correspondence between Hofmeister and any Jenks school employee and she has still only made it to 2011. The district’s email archive only goes back to October 2009.
So far, she has pulled up 3,661 emails and used four reams of paper to copy them.
“I don’t know what they’re looking for,” Rogers said. “So far, what they will find is that Joy has been an active parent, an active board member of the foundation and involved in her business.”
My hunch is they don’t know what they’re looking for either. This seems like a needle-in-a-haystack exercise to me. Then again, it’s all perfectly legal. Barresi’s campaign is making the request this time, unlike last year when her agency went after Rob Miller. That was perfectly legal too (incredibly misguided, but legal).
In fact, any person can initiate an open records request against any government entity. Sure, it can become burdensome, but hey, they work for the public. They’re here to serve.
Hmm. Let me say that again. Anybody can make an open records request at any time. Say, for example, someone was curious about any correspondence between the Governor (or her staff) and Barresi (or the SDE) about how to protect the Common Core…such would be a reasonable inquiry. Or if you were curious about internal discussions of how the SDE should react to CTB’s complete meltdown last year during testing…that would be ok too. Even if you wanted to see how the Barresi’s inner circle discussed the relative merits of various A-F Report Card formulas with key legislators…they’d have to provide that information too. The possibilities are endless!
You see, part of serving the public is an ongoing commitment to transparency. It’s not bullying or intimidation to ask for answers – until someone does it to you.
Then it’s just karma.