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June Starts Now

May 31, 2014

Following the Legislature’s override of Governor Fallin’s veto of HB 2625 (and Superintendent Barresi’s comically awful response to it), I took a little break. I’ve even had a few questions about this. Yes, there have been a few tweets or retweets, but I really have been focusing on other things. I need to recharge from time to time.

That time is over. We have 24 days until the election primaries in Oklahoma, and whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, much is at stake. There is a real possibility that the incumbent in the superintendent race loses her primary. There is also a possibility that she doesn’t. That is why we have to know enough about all the candidates to make an informed decision.

I decided a while ago that I would not make an explicit endorsement on my blog, and I’m sticking to that. Just the same, I’m with the thousands of Oklahomans who will not vote to re-elect Barresi under any circumstance (or her maiden name). Now that the legislature is not in session and school is out across Oklahoma (except in a few places), I’m going to spend the next three weeks or so reminding readers about the ways she has treated schools, educators, and students with complete and utter disrespect.

That probably means I should watch her campaign ad that I’ve heard so much about on social media.

Ok, I just did. Yowza!

In the opening, the impressive voice-over man asks, Who can we trust to defend our values? and then proceeds to use the word conservative three times in the 30 second spot (cue the lesson on loaded language now).

Which conservative values are those? Violating student privacy laws? Insulting teachers? Writing off entire regions of the state? Re-hiring CTB last year after their colossal SNAFU? Her own agency’s mishandling of the school report cards?

He says Barresi cut millions from her own budget. Actually, the legislature did most of that. Whatever she has cut, I would bet we could find quite a few school districts that have cut more – none of which was by choice.

He says she took on the liberal unions and education bureaucrats. If by took on, you mean, hired the OEA’s top lobbyist and made him her Chief of Staff, then I’m with you. In actuality, her staff would never have been able to make any headway with implementing the Common Core and teacher evaluation reforms she cherishes without the OEA and CCOSA. The SDE partnered with their staff and even used their facilities for key meetings with these initiatives. At the same time, when she has needed the appearance of stakeholder input, she has brought representatives groups of teachers and administrators together, only to disregard their advice.

Janet Barresi does not represent or protect Oklahoma values. That she is a reformer is probably the truest statement in the ad. As I’ve pointed out many times before, she’s following the playbook of Jeb Bush and his Foundation, with a little help from the Koch brothers and ALEC. She’s trying to tell us what our values are, but she shows no interest in hearing from Oklahoma parents or teachers.

We have 24 days. Know the options.

  1. Skeptical Teacher
    May 31, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I’m not voting for Janet Barresi either. But not because you repeated “Koch Brothers,” “Jeb Bush,” and “Foundation” as some sort of shibboleth. As far as I’m concerned, Janet Barresi is no more or less dishonest and one-sided than your own attacks on her have been.

    I’m still curious. Where was the outrage when Sandy Garrett had us at #49, seemingly content to remain there forever? Was that OK, as in “Oklahoma values,” because she didn’t rock the boat, didn’t challenge the largely self-serving public education establishment?


    • May 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      If your point is that my use of those terms is just as much an attempt to evoke a predictable response from my core readers as it is when Barresi says “liberal” and “education establishment,” I suppose I’m guilty as charged. Yes, I too use loaded language. As for your claims that I have been “dishonest” on this blog, I’d love for you to point out specifically where that has been true. If you think I’m “one-sided” because I don’t criticize Sandy Garrett, please keep in mind that I started this blog a little over a year after she left office. I have been critical of many Oklahoma politicians – not just Barresi. When SG was state superintendent, I often pointed in my professional dealings to things with which I disagreed – just never to this extent.

      I have also been critical of President Obama and Secretary Duncan, but on a more limited scale since I tend to focus on the Oklahomaeducation issues.

      Most importantly, though, thank you for reading, and I’m glad to hear you won’t be voting for Barresi.


  2. Stefanie
    June 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I want to point out that 10 million dollars that JB ‘saved’ Oklahoma was accomplished by eliminating or crippling vital services for students with disabilities. I do not consider the total disregard of our students with disabilities effective ‘reform’. It is shameful.


  1. June 1, 2014 at 7:16 pm
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