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I Didn’t Know We Had A King

April 18, 2014

If you’re of a certain age and found yourself, shall we say, with limited social options in your adolescence, you can probably quote just about every line of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In one of my favorite scenes, King Arthur explains to two peasants how it came to pass that he was to rule over them.

 ARTHUR:  How do you do, good lady.  I am Arthur, King of the Britons.

Who’s castle is that?

WOMAN:  King of the who?

ARTHUR:  The Britons.

WOMAN:  Who are the Britons?

ARTHUR:  Well, we all are. we’re all Britons and I am your king.

WOMAN:  I didn’t know we had a king.  I thought we were an autonomous

DENNIS:  You’re fooling yourself.  We’re living in a dictatorship.

A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–

WOMAN:  Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.

DENNIS:  That’s what it’s all about if only people would–

ARTHUR:  Please, please good people.  I am in haste.  Who lives

in that castle?

WOMAN:  No one live there.

ARTHUR:  Then who is your lord?

WOMAN:  We don’t have a lord.

ARTHUR:  What?

DENNIS:  I told you.  We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune.  We take

it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.


DENNIS:  But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified

at a special biweekly meeting.

ARTHUR:  Yes, I see.

DENNIS:  By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,–

ARTHUR:  Be quiet!

DENNIS:  –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–

ARTHUR:  Be quiet!  I order you to be quiet!

WOMAN:  Order, eh — who does he think he is?

ARTHUR:  I am your king!

WOMAN:  Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR:  You don’t vote for kings.

WOMAN:  Well, ‘ow did you become king then?

ARTHUR:  The Lady of the Lake,

[angels sing]

her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur

from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I,

Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.

[singing stops]

That is why I am your king!

By the way I’m going to pretend that a bunch of you didn’t just drift away and read the entire script or get sucked into a You Tube vortex and watch a bunch of other clips before returning. Focus, people! This stuff is important!

Reading the Tulsa World’s article this afternoon on Janet Barresi’s response to the online petition expressing no confidence in her reminded me of this scene in the movie.

“The fact that those guarding their own kingdoms are against the state’s leading reform advocate is not a surprise,” Barresi’s campaign manager Robyn Matthews said in a statement. “This same group literally turned their backs on Janet when she first went to speak to them before the 2010 elections.

“They are upset that Janet has exposed how they could give teachers a $2,000 increase in pay by just reprioritizing a small percentage of administrative overhead,” she said. “The truth is, the people have no confidence in this education establishment that has run over parents and bowed to the liberal trade unions.”

First of all, what ever happened to Sam Stone? When did Barresi get a new campaign manager? Oh well, that’s a rabbit hole for another time. For now, let’s focus on these two tightly packed paragraphs and the loaded language they contain.

Guarding over kingdoms? Wow. How many schools have Barresi and her campaign staff been in lately? Have they seen the deferred maintenance that many districts can’t afford to address because of rural poverty and a negligible bonding capacity? Are they oblivious to the mountains of unfunded mandates? It would be more accurate to say we’re guarding the children in our schools from lousy public policy.

The state’s leading reform advocate? Is that a self-ascribed title? I’d give that crown to Jeb Bush, since it is his agenda she’s spreading into our state.

Literally turned their backs on Janet? If Matthews is referring to Barresi’s address to the CCOSA summer conference in 2010, I was there. There was no back turning. We listened to Barresi and her general election opponent, Sen. Susan Paddack, describe their respective visions for public education in this state. If I remember correctly, many CCOSA members (and the organization itself) made donations to the Barresi campaign.

After the last four years, however, none of us will turn our backs on Barresi!

A $2,000 increase in pay? Barresi exposed nothing. She keeps spouting numbers about record carryovers but hasn’t put anything forward. If she’s willing to issue press releases shaming school districts for not participating in computer readiness drills with the testing companies, surely she can find someone at the SDE with the free time to publish a spreadsheet showing every district’s 2013 General Fund carryover. Time and time again, professional educators who have actually taken a school finance class and had to live within a budget have proven the folly of this plan.

This education establishment that has run over parents? Here, Matthews misses one critical fact. The online petition was started by a Yukon parent. Or maybe she missed the part this month where Barresi implored legislators to vote against HB2625, which would include parents in the decision-making process about any third-grade retentions.

Bowed to the liberal trade unions? She loves calling people liberals. It’s her bread and butter. Then again, the OEA and CCOSA have both been instrumental in the implementation of two of her biggest reform pieces: TLE and Common Core – even if one of them is going away.

If the Barresi campaign wants to accuse her opponents of something regal, that’s fine. The campaign has every reason to be nervous. I still haven’t seen that roster of legislators that still supports her.

Barresi is no king, and I didn’t vote for her. Many of those who did won’t again. This year at the ballot box, they will have but one thing to say.



  1. Kevin Wade
    April 21, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Hello…I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and appreciate the work you are doing.

    For some reason several weeks ago your emails have been scrambled (see below). Do you know what the problem is and how to fix it?

    Thank You,

    Kevin Wade, Principal

    Alexander Elementary

    *From:* okeducationtruths [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Friday, April 18, 2014 4:49 PM *To:* kwade@commercetigers.net *Subject:* [New post] I Didn’t Know We Had A King


    =09 =09=09

    =09=09=09=09=09 =09=09=09=09okeducationtruths posted: “If you=E2=80=99re of a certain age a= nd found yourself, shall we say, with limited social options in your adoles= cence, you can probably quote just about every line of Monty Python and the= Holy Grail. In one of my favorite scenes, King Arthur explains to two peas= an”=09=09=09 =09=09=09=09=09=09

    =09=09=09=09 =09=09=09=09=09


    =09=09=09=09=09=09=09 =09=09=09=09=09=09=09=09


    • April 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      That’s odd. I don’t know what to suggest. Perhaps you could unsubscribe and then sign up again?


  2. April 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Reblogged this on on40acres.


  1. April 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm
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