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Pen Drive for the Governor!

May 17, 2014

All of us who’ve been in public education for a while have been through any number of causes that materialize as drives – food drives, toy drives, book drives, fitness drives, to name a few. Today, while reading through the assorted commentary on Twitter, thanks to @JacksonGirl79 I had a wonderful idea for a new drive.

I hadn’t thought about this possibility, but maybe the reason – nearly a week after the House passed HB 2625 by a vote of 89-6 (after a 43-1 vote in the Senate) – that Governor Fallin hasn’t signed the people’s revisions into law yet is that she doesn’t have a pen. After all, we know that the Capitol is crumbling. Perhaps the executive branch supply closet is sealed off from her staff as a bio-hazard  right now.

Maybe supplies aren’t the problem at all. Perhaps she’s listening to Janet Costello Barresi (who is also now signing with all three initials) and her incessant lobbying to get the governor to veto the bill.

Since the recipient list is redacted, I suppose we should submit an Open Records Request to retrieve it. After all, snooping into the emails of your political opponents is all the rage these days. And by the way, the word you were trying to spell there is spread, not spred.

The email pictured in that tweet refers to an editorial that ran in the Journal Record this week. In the piece, OCPA “Distinguished Fellow” and OCU law professor Andrew Spiropoulos opines about why the governor should veto the bill. Spoiler alert – it’s because we’re all liars.

Lying has become a foundation of our state and national education policy, however. Our leaders lie when they say that these students are being held back because they just didn’t do well enough on one test. No, the law gives them multiple ways of demonstrating they can read, including submission of a portfolio of work or a sufficient score on another test. All that is being asked of the students is that, at the end of third grade, they show that they can read at above a first-grade reading level. A proficient third-grader, never mind fourth-grader, is reading and writing about the novels of Roald Dahl and Laura Ingalls Wilder. The students who are failing stumble through Corduroy or The Cat in the Hat. These students are not failing tests because they are nervous. They are failing tests because they can’t read the questions.

What is especially painful is that this debacle demonstrates that we have managed to elect people who have no clue about what it means to be a conservative. If forced to put it most simply, I would say the main difference between modern liberalism and conservatism is that liberals believe people are naturally good and corrupt society is responsible for their failings. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that human nature is a complex mixture of the good and bad. Most of us want to do the right thing, but are overly influenced by our passions, especially self-interest. We need the help of institutions, including faith, community and the law. If left to our own devices, we will lie to ourselves, even if it harms our children.

This law is a noble and necessary attempt to stop the lies. It tells parents and schools that, at some point, the community can’t allow you to pretend anymore.

Actually, he cites two reasons. In addition to educators (who don’t actually make education policy) being liars, modern Republicans aren’t conservative enough. Truthfully, labels don’t matter to me. You can call yourself a conservative, moderate, liberal, or whatever. If you consistently do the right thing for kids, you have my undivided attention. If you consistently do the wrong thing for kids, I notice that too.

Surely Fallin isn’t listening to OCPA – a group dedicated to the destruction of public education – over parents and teachers. What does a combined vote of 132-7 from the state legislature mean, if not that the will of the people is clear?

For a week now, we’ve been calling Fallin’s office. Her voicemail has been filled, and emptied, and filled again. We’ve been emailing. We’ve been doing everything possible to let her know that HB 2625 matters. If Barresi believes that a veto will “save reading,” as if those of us who have actually taught want to kill it. If Fallin signs the bill, third graders will still be retained – but not without a meeting with parents first. What we gain, while still emphasizing reading, is an opportunity to consider things that the flimsy good cause exemptions don’t.

I’m sticking with the pen theory. And I think we should send them to her now. And maybe some Clorox wipes for whatever that is running down the walls.

The Office of Governor Mary Fallin

Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

  1. ropeok
    May 18, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Just FYI; there’s another political designation you didn’t mention here – that of STATIST. Statists believe they know better than individuals about what’s best for individuals. They do not understand the tenant of self-government and if they do it’s anathema to them because they will always believe they know better. This is also called elitism. Statists come with ‘Ds’ and/or ‘Rs’ after their names so this particular designation cross cuts traditional political nomenclature. Janet Barresi and Andrew Spiropolous are both Statists. The faster we get these people out of our system of government, the better everyone – especially our kids – will be.


  2. joeddins
    May 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Can some one send OCPA the list of reviews showing mandatory retention does not work; and all those who say they are helping children by retaining them ?


  3. Susie Tidwell
    May 20, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Sent my ink pen and a short letter.


  1. May 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm
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