Thursday evening, I did not attend the school choice summit at Oklahoma City Community College. I registered for it. I went to it. Unfortunately, I did not get in because I had been flagged as a security risk.
It wasn’t just me. Other people I know didn’t get in, including my wife. We were told by one of the event organizers that OCCC had initiated the flagging process. Trent England had even tweeted as much the day before.
In fact, I am concerned about accuracy. That’s why my wife called the OCCC police to find out why we had been labeled as security risks. They said the event organizers had flagged us. I’ll let the event organizers and the college work out their differences on that one. It sounds complicated. Read more…
Two years ago, I made a list of the top 20 reasons to vote for anybody else other than Janet Barresi for state superintendent. At the end of the list, I also had a sizeable honorable mention list. We have two days left and I’m down to my top three reasons to vote for pro-public education candidates. I had better pick up the pace.
10. One person can’t fix bad education policy alone.
9. The people who hate us still hate us.
8. I’m tired of saying “only.”
7. This matters more than Trump vs. Clinton.
6. What if the Veep thing really happens?
5. We are the Blob. We must protect the Penny.
4. Paul Blair would make us miss Clark Jolley.
3. Janet Barresi and her friends won’t go away.
In August 2014, the Oklahoma Federation for Children supported six candidates in run-off elections for legislative seats. They won all six. From their press release:
Washington, D.C. (August 26, 2014) – The Oklahoma Federation for Children celebrated the results of tonight’s run-off election, as parents responded overwhelmingly in support of educational choice candidates. All six of the Oklahoma Federation for Children Action Fund supported candidates were successful and strongly believe in empowering parents through educational choice. The most closely watched race was between Melissa Abdo and Chuck Strohm. Abdo, the front runner and an unapologetic opponent of educational choice, was upset by pro-educational choice candidate Chuck Strohm.
The group is still involved in our legislative races. Here is a letter they sent to candidates in April:
The name at the bottom should sound familiar to you. Maybe this will help:
The one on the left is Jennifer Carter. The one on the right, of course, is Janet Barresi. Carter was Barresi’s campaign manager in 2010. She was Barresi’s first chief of staff. She has referred to a group of superintendents as “dirtbags,” and her husband writes editorials for the Oklahoman.
Here are a couple of attack ads by their group aimed at candidates in this year’s races:
The people out there who just hate public education because they think we’re indoctrinating the kids have always been there. They always will be. Then you have the Barresi crowd. They love to perpetuate the belief that schools are failing. They more they say it, the more their corporate partners can swoop in and take something.
They want vouchers. They want for-profit charter schools (which, for the most part, are different than the ones we have now). They want to label as many things as they can and create a system of winners and losers.
And they’re not the only ones. According to Oklahoma Watch, dark money is rampant in this year’s primaries:
Independent groups that seek to influence elections have spent more than $300,000 over the past five weeks on Oklahoma’s legislative and congressional primary contests.
Since May 19, $300,716 in independent expenditures have been made to influence results in Tuesday’s election, Oklahoma Ethics Commission and Federal Election Commission filings show.
Of the four groups that have made independent expenditures on legislative primary races, an obscure nonprofit called Catalyst Oklahoma spent the most.
The organization, formed in October 2013, has spent $89,120 on advertisements, videos and phone calls in support of three Republican legislative candidates. This includes $17,500 in support of Bob Jack in Senate District 25, $32,500 in support of Julie Daniels in Senate District 29, $10,000 in support of Miguel Najera in the Senate District 21 and $29,120 in support of Tim Downing in House District 42.
The group is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) social-welfare nonprofit and it identifies in its federal filings as a “nonpartisan organization dedicated to the promotion of pro-growth public polices based on the free market principles that are the foundation of a long-term vibrant economy for Oklahoma.”
Charles Sublett of Tulsa, a member of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs’ board of trustees, is listed as the president of the group. The organization’s 2014 tax return also names OCPA, a conservative think tank, as a “related tax-exempt organization.”
The tax form lists four contributors who have given $1.35 million, including one who gave $1.15 million, but the names have been redacted.
Well that’s lovely. Apparently OCPA has yet another tentacle (they might want to get that thing checked out). And they get to launder donations from millionaires, while the rest of us have to observe campaign donation limits. Different income strata, different rules I guess.
Politics has long been about money and about paying no attention to the person behind the curtain.I think we’re all used to it. That doesn’t excuse us from trying to educate ourselves.
For the record, one candidate opposed by both of these groups is Lisa Kramer in Senate District 25. The Tulsa World just endorsed her today:
Kramer is a rational conservative. She isn’t an ideologue determined to fight a social war in Oklahoma City. Rather, she’s a CPA and a mother who has been on the front line of trying to save public education and understands the state isn’t pulling its share of the load.
She favors prison reform, opposes vouchers, understands the role of charter schools and is willing to look at a variety of ideas — from reforming the way tax credits are distributed to how we fund health care — on the basis of what would be best of the state.
I love those words: rational conservative. Those are people I can get along with beautifully. Those are the candidates who put their constituents above their party. I guess that’s why Barresi and the OCPA oppose them.
When the Oklahoma Legislature passed HB 3399 and Governor Fallin signed it into law, school districts throughout the state scrambled to turn the clock back to 2010 – sort of. In many places, the transition from PASS (our old standards) to the Common Core had failed to launch. Teachers, aware of the fact that the state tests were still aligned with PASS, focused on those standards. In other places, the transition was fairly thorough; teachers were using a hybrid of CCSS and PASS. In many of those districts – especially those using some form of curriculum mapping – teachers will continue to use a hybrid set of standards. They will simply align to pass and employ strategies or enhancements from the Common Core as necessary.
My point is that if you walk into any good veteran teacher’s classroom in 2014, you won’t see the exact same thing you saw in 2010, 2006, 2002, and so on. Though some may not like to admit it, our state’s dalliance with de facto national standards has changed us. When the SDE submits new Mathematics and English/Language Arts standards to the legislature in 2016, the finished product will likely reflect that.
I know I have readers who hate the Common Core with a blood red passion. I also know they disapprove when I mention that I do not. I don’t like that the state adopted them when they were in draft form. I don’t like the ratio of non-educators to educators who were on the drafting committees. I don’t like the fact that their development seemed to be for the benefit of testing companies and other vendors, rather than children. The language of the standards was rather boilerplate, if you ask me – which you didn’t. If you were to look at the ACT College Readiness Standards from 2008 or any number of Advanced Placement course syllabi on the College Board website, you’d find similarities to many of the Common Core standards.
So on one hand, good teachers are constantly evolving. On the other hand, some things never change. Children learn to count before they learn to add. Students who can read and write can learn and communicate what they’ve learned. Meanwhile, students who excel at reading and writing stand apart from those who are merely competent. We have always had students at various levels in our schools – struggle, competence, and mastery often sit side-by-side-by-side in the classroom, then eat lunch together in the cafeteria, and then run in a pack on the playground. We can call our standards whatever we want. We can use different words to describe performance levels. We can even spend millions developing new tests to tell us the exact same things we already know. Some children struggle. Some meet the mark. Some excel.
What we do for each of these groups of children is far more important than the standards or the tests. How do we provide remediation? Do we integrate it into instruction or do we pull students away from activities they actually enjoy, essentially sucking whatever joy they feel out of the school day for them. With our competent students, do we push them to find the places where they can stretch their comfort zones, or are we content with their competence? And what energy do we have at the end of the hour/day/year for the students who could have completed our work at a high level before we even started teaching?
I have always believed that a clear standard is a good target for us to have in place. And part of me is still naïve enough to think that some of the Common Core’s developers and promoters believed that too. As much as Oklahoma’s critics have found fault either with the standards or the process by which they came to exist, the larger problem is with the way the SDE stumbled in implementing them. Kevin Hime explained this well on his blog yesterday.
The year is 2011 and Janet is the new state superintendent. She is attacking public schools and decides common core will save us. Her stump speech rhetoric centers on how Oklahoma students will fail the Common Core at an alarming rate and how these new standards will make our students college career ready but, WHAT IF Janet Barresi would have be championing the awesome teachers in Oklahoma. WHAT IF she would have said, “Standards do not make students College and Career Ready, Teachers do!” She may have followed up with “What Oklahoma’s teachers need is the legislature to provide the resources needed to prepare students for the 21st century not new standards.”
As right as he is about the tone Barresi took with educators, one thing we all need to remember is that the Legislature adopted the Common Core in 2010, while Brad Henry was governor and Sandy Garrett was state superintendent. What they adopted, they left to their successors to implement. We also need to remember that Barresi and Fallin were all in on the Common Core, until they started campaigning for their primaries earlier this year.
We already know that Barresi will be replaced. Six months ago, few of us thought Fallin would be in a tough fight for re-election, but she is. Part of the reason is that she still can’t entirely shake the stigma of the Common Core. While she still has to be considered the favorite in the race, momentum is a funny thing. Yes, there is a chance we will have both a new state superintendent and a new governor. Even if only Barresi goes, we should not be excited about the leadership she has in place to do this job for us. It will be a new state superintendent and new staff beneath him or her who will present the new standards to the Legislature in 2016.
Twice already the State Board of Education has balked at approving the SDE’s standard-writing process. Barresi told attendees at Vision 2020 in July that she had discussed the process with Board members, and that they would approve it. That’s just one more thing she has been wrong about.
Even though no process is in place, the SDE has kept the application to serve on committees and a rough calendar of dates on its website as if it were. If you would like to serve on one of the Executive Committees, you’re out of luck. The deadline to apply was Friday. If you want to serve in any capacity, the deadline is still two weeks away.
The same people who failed at implementing the Common Core are forming committees in spite of failing to get SBE approval to begin the development of new state standards. Does that sound like a good plan to you? Their successors will inherit a process that is heading in direction that they might want to change. Start. Stop. Reset. Start over. After the last four years, that is the last thing we need.
Yesterday, Democratic candidate for governor Joe Dorman issued a press release highlighting the approach he favors for developing the new standards. Here’s an excerpt:
“For the third phase of my Classrooms First plan, I am proposing a system that will involve participation by parents, educators, students and administrators,” said Dorman. “Together, we will develop rigorous, but developmentally appropriate and workable standards that reflect Oklahoma values.”
Dorman said he will create a Blue Ribbon Commission to craft these new standards. The Commission will consist of teachers, parents, principals, superintendents, school board members and Oklahoma college education professors. These Oklahomans will represent the different schools, communities and regions throughout the state. This includes urban, suburban and rural educators, elementary through high school teachers, and both gifted and special needs educators.
“These people are involved directly in education and have an in depth understanding of the needs, abilities and challenges facing our students today,” said Dorman. “No one else — certainly those outside of Oklahoma who have been used by Fallin and Barresi — will better craft quality standards for our children.”
Dorman added that the standards developed by the Commission will ensure a challenging curriculum necessary for gifted students and provide accommodations and modifications for special needs students. The Commission will fund, develop and provide remediation programs for those who struggle to meet the standards and who cannot perform at grade level.
“To ensure accountability, once the Commission writes the standards, town halls and public forums will be held around the state, allowing Oklahomans to voice their opinions and concerns,” said Dorman. “The Commission will then refine the standards based on this feedback.”
Along with the Commission, Dorman said he will establish a Superintendents Advisory Board to develop the best ways to implement these policies in individual school districts while maintaining local control.
Sidebar: what exactly are Oklahoma values? Hard work? Faith? Community? Find me a state whose leaders don’t think those values describe them. I know mincing a politician’s words is futile and that buzzwords get the ballots punched. This phrase has no meaning to me, though. Both sides are going to use it, so I guess it balances out. The same is true for college and career ready. It’s always been our goal to prepare students for all things that come after high school. That’s just a reformer’s way of pretending differently.
What I read in the process Dorman describes is similar to what the SDE has proposed. It will include all kinds of people from all kinds of schools in all parts of the state. It will be similar to what we did for the Social Studies revisions in 2011 and Science revisions last year.
Take a moment and fast-forward to 2016. At a town hall somewhere in Oklahoma, a member of the community will take a microphone and make a comment about the newly-written standards. At least once, the person speaking will do so without having read the standards. For the most part, the people of Oklahoma will listen to those around them who are well-informed. Whether the new standards written by Oklahomans and demonstrating our values gain broad acceptance depends mainly on the leadership presenting them. Few members of the public will ever actually read the content.
If we are to have new standards, we can wait a few months to start writing them. We can’t afford to have any part of the process tainted by the current occupants of the SDE. Start in January with a new state superintendent and possibly a new governor. That still leaves enough time to meet the requirements of HB 3399.
I’ve been quiet the last couple of weeks, mainly just enjoying my summer. I go to work. I come home and do things not related to my job or education policy. I catch up a little on Twitter. Otherwise, I’ve been staying low key regarding politics, and enjoying every minute of it.
In June, I was the blogger who wouldn’t shut up, and it wore me out. Before work, I was researching and writing. After work, it was more of the same. I was tired, but it was worth it. As David Blatt pointed out today, the rise of activists on social media probably contributed something to the defeat of Janet Barresi in the Republican primary.
The anti-Barresi movement was united by frustration with high-stakes testing and inadequate funding of public education. The A-F school grading system, mandatory third-grade retention and efforts to expand charter schools all stoked the feeling that the superintendent and her supporters were bent on implementing an ideologically driven agenda at the expense of teachers, students and parents.
The movement, which identifies itself by the Twitter hashtag #oklaed, includes many strands playing different roles. Statewide organizations of superintendents, school board members and teachers spread information to their members across the state. Civic groups like the Parents Legislative Advocacy Committee, the PTA, and Voice effectively educate parents and bring them to the Capitol to lobby their legislators.
This year, these advocates showed their organizing muscle by mobilizing 25,000 Oklahomans for a rally at the Capitol. They showed their political muscle by defeating legislation to expand charter schools and getting the Legislature to override the governor’s veto of a bill to give parents and educators more control over retention of third-graders. And of course they delivered their knockout blow to Barresi in June.
When I started this blog in 2012, it was never my intent to focus so much on one individual. I’m still more pro-public education than I am anti-Barresi. In most political races, I have no desire to endorse candidates. When I’m not blogging, I’m quite free with my political views – much to the chagrin of family, friends, and colleagues. On the blog, however, I don’t think I need to endorse candidates. I’m not a newspaper with an editorial board. I’m an individual with strong views about my profession and the children we serve. On the other hand, when the preponderance of evidence shows – as it has with Janet Barresi – that a public official has actively harmed public education, I have no problem stating the case that we should elect someone else.
At the same time, I’m not a single-issue voter. Public education is probably the biggest focus I have when it comes to state politics, and with the state superintendent’s race, it’s an easy focus to maintain. With our legislators and governor, however, we have to ask ourselves how much our passion for public education matters when we look at the big picture. When I ask myself, “Is Mary Fallin the best possible governor for Oklahoma,” the analysis is much more complicated than one issue.
Over the next few months, I will occasionally break down the race between Democrat challenger Joe Dorman and Fallin. Today though, I want to start with yesterday’s news that Fallin and Joy Hofmeister – the Republican who ousted Barresi – have pledged support for each other in this November’s elections.
“Joy Hofmeister is a teacher, small business owner and a mother who cares deeply about public education in Oklahoma, which is why I was proud to appoint her to the Oklahoma State Board of Education. I know Joy will work tirelessly to unite parents, teachers, employers and lawmakers as we work to support and improve our schools. I am proud to support her in her race for superintendent.” – Governor Mary Fallin
“Governor Fallin has always said that improving education is the most important thing we can do to support the long term growth and prosperity of our state. She should be applauded for highlighting the importance of public education, not just in the individual growth of our students, but for Oklahoma’s long term economic well-being. I encourage Oklahomans to get behind Governor Fallin to ensure we have a pro-education governor for the next four years.” – Joy Hofmeister
These are both very nice statements, but as many in the print media and social media have noted over the last few weeks, Fallin has actively distanced herself from Barresi. I noticed this late last fall when the state superintendent always seemed to mention the governor’s name, but with no reciprocity. It’s clear that attaching herself to Barresi’s toxic personality would not benefit Fallin politically. Surrounded by many astute handlers, the governor kept putting more space between the two of them.
While Mary Fallin may not be tight with Janet Barresi anymore, however, their education policies remain intertwined. As chairperson of the National Governor’s Association, Fallin has pushed strongly for the Common Core. She opposed HB 2625 which gave parents a voice in the retention decision of third-graders – in lock-step with Barresi, who called the Legislature’s override of Fallin’s veto pathetic and outrageous.
By the way, it was after that override (by a combined 124-19 margin) that I realized the power of the #oklaed movement. Apparently Fallin did too. She flipped her support for the Common Core into a signature of HB 3399, which eliminated it in Oklahoma (a change of heart that could have major unintended consequences in terms of increased federal oversight). Even her campaign website still proclaims her love of all things Common Core.
Though Fallin received good press after speaking to the state PTA last week for backing off the third-grade reading test, her actual words do not show much of a change. And her website still shows she supports high-stakes testing for eight- and nine-year olds. Here’s how Rob Miller explained it.
In her prepared remarks to the PTA delegates, Governor Fallin said, “If we can get to a system where we are measuring a student throughout the progress of their education versus one test — one high-stakes test — we are better serving the children.”
As you recall, just two months ago the Governor made waves with her controversial veto of House Bill 2625. This legislation allows districts to implement “probationary promotion” by incorporating a committee of school personnel and parents in making final determinations on student retention. Her veto came despite the fact that the bill was passed by large majorities in both the Oklahoma House and Senate. At the time, the Governor was adamant that the RSA law should remain unaltered, saying HB2625 “returns us to a system that has failed Oklahoma children for decades.” Despite her strong objectives, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to override Fallin’s veto.
The “thump thump” sound you may have heard later in the Governor’s remarks was the sound of Superintendent Janet Barresi being thrown under the bus.
This happened when Governor Fallin remarked that testing accommodations should be restored for children in special education or English language learners. This year, all students but the most severely disabled were required to take the same standardized tests as their peers despite their disabilities.
When asked to clarify her remarks on special education students, Fallin said she always felt they should be accommodated and attributed the current Education Department policy to State Superintendent Janet Barresi.
“That’s been her position. Now I’m telling you what my position is as governor. The superintendent is an independently elected official. She has her ideas. I have my ideas,” Fallin said.
She also still supports the A-F Report Cards and Value Added Measurements for teachers. These are positions far more insidious than the Common Core. I don’t care what standards are in place; if we insist on using flawed tests (or any tests, for that matter) to measure teacher quality and make critical decisions for students, our path is sorely misguided. Fallin is part of the reason that we will have to remain vigilant against the expansion of charter schools and voucher programs. She has done even less than Barresi to restore funding to public education.
In the end, I don’t know how much the other issues impacting our state matter to you. I’m not a straight-party voter, and some of the things I support would probably surprise you. When I consider the state of public education in Oklahoma, though, I cannot in good conscience support Mary Fallin. She has damaged public education. Sure, I understand that these two Republicans supporting each other is a political thing. I am also pretty sure it helps Fallin a lot more than it does Hofmeister. Yes, Joy would work well with Fallin, but based on my own meetings with her, I think she’d work pretty decently with Dorman too. Besides, there are two other state superintendent candidates, and once they sort out their own differences, Hofmeister will have to demonstrate why she is better than the one who remains. Oklahoma may be the reddest state in the country, but that doesn’t mean we vote with our eyes closed.
I want a governor who supports public education. Since we can’t bring back Henry Bellmon, I’m looking for the one who is close.
I’ve said before that I’m never really sure what’s going to get my readers going. Sometimes I spend days researching a post, write it, and hardly get any page views. Friday’s post on the seven candidates for State Superintendent took me about 30 minutes and was my 400th post to this blog. As I write this, it’s ranked ninth among the 400.
Another interesting thing to watch is the clicks from my blog to other sites. I try to source external content as much as it is available. The stated purpose of this blog is “when the record on public education in Oklahoma needs to be set straight.” It says so right at the top. I try to refute the favorite myths of the people trying to destroy public education. This often involves simply re-posting press releases or testing instructions directly from the SDE with very little commentary. When I do, those items get a few clicks, typically.
That’s why I’m so pleased that my readers have really taken the opportunity to research the candidates in this race. As of 8:45 tonight, here are the total clicks from my blog to their websites.
- Brian Kelly – 212
- Joy Hofmeister – 174
- Freda Deskin – 152
- John Cox – 145
- Jack Herron – 127
- Ivan Holmes – 110
- Janet Barresi – 52
You’re welcome, candidates.
Just from what I’ve seen in social media over the last 9 months or so, I think most of my readers are familiar with Hofmeister, Deskin, and Barresi. I also think few would seriously consider voting to re-elect Barresi. Then again, I also know I have quite a few readers all up and down Lincoln Boulevard, and honestly, they’re not all fans. So maybe a few of my regular readers will be voting for Barresi. Good for them.
While I’ve yet to settle on a single candidate, and I really don’t have plans to endorse one, I’ll go ahead and say this: ANYONE HAS TO BE BETTER THAN BARRESI.
To her, teachers are the problem, except when she needs to pander to them for political expediency. She campaigned in 2010 on how much the education establishment feared her. Teachers – and especially administrators – were the problem, and she didn’t care who heard her say that. (She also detests “researchers,” except for the $85,000/year recent Ph.D. from Harvard the SDE now employs.)
For more than three years, that has been how she has “led” the state. Blame educators for everything. Tests fail; it was the schools’ fault. Kids are stressed about tests; the adults let them down. Losing a damn generation of kids doesn’t happen because the teachers are heroes, as she says when she’s right in front of them.
Recently, Barresi (or her people, anyway) wrote about the “New Minimum” in academic preparation of students for college and the workforce. It was such an unremarkable rehash of ALEC claptrap that I found it entirely unremarkable. This weekend, however, when I was watching the numbers go up on my post and on click to the campaign sites, I realized that so many of my readers have that same mindset when it comes to this election. We have a new minimum. While I find some of the candidates less ready for the state superintendency than others, any of them would be an upgrade over the incumbent.
For a “contrary” point of view, read Rob Miller’s Top Ten Reasons to Re-Elect Janet Barresi!
Let the fun officially begin! As of 5:00 this evening, the candidate filing period for 2014 has closed. It appears we will have seven people running for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. According to the forms they filed with the state election commission, they are:
- Janet Barresi (Republican, Incumbent) – Oklahoma City
- John Cox (Democrat) – Hulbert
- Freda Deskin (Democrat) – Edmond
- Jack Herron (Democrat) – Norman
- Joy Hofmeister (Republican) – Tulsa
- Ivan Holmes (Democrat) – Oklahoma City
- Brian Kelly (Republican) – Edmond
You can click the links above to learn more about each candidate from his or her own website. With three or more individuals in each party’s primary, it is important to note all three election dates. The primary will be held June 24, 2014. In the case a run-off is needed, it will be August 26. The general election will be November 4.
Keeping track of candidates over the last three days has only been part of my curiosity. I assume that most of my readers have never run for public office before. I wanted to see what the process looks like, so I downloaded a copy of the 2014 Filing Packet.
First off, each candidate had to pay a filing fee of $500, unless they presented a petition for candidacy that has been signed by four percent of registered voters. Second, each state office has specific requirements for candidates. Here’s a general overview for state offices.
No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor and Inspector, Attorney General, State Treasurer or Superintendent of Public Instruction except a citizen of the United States of the age of not less than thirty-one (31) years and who shall have been ten (10) years next preceding his or her election, or appointment, a qualified elector of this state. (Article 6, Section 3, Oklahoma Constitution)
Some offices have additional requirements.
State Auditor and Inspector
The State Auditor and Inspector must have had at least three years’ experience as an expert accountant.
The Insurance Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma shall … have had at least five (5) years’ experience in the insurance industry in administration, sales, servicing or regulation.
Any person, otherwise qualified, who has been a resident of the state for two (2) years, a registered voter in the district and a resident residing within such district for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing period, a duly licensed attorney for at least five (5) years, and at least twenty-eight (28) years of age, prior to the date of filing for the office, shall be eligible to hold the office of district attorney.
District Judge and Associate District Judge
Each District Judge shall have had prior to election or appointment, a minimum of four years’ experience as a licensed practicing attorney, or as a judge of a court of record, or both, within the State of Oklahoma.
That’s it – nothing for Attorney General, State Treasurer, or Superintendent of Public Instruction. You have to have experience in law to be a DA, but not to be the AG. Bizarre. You just have to be 31.
Most of the Oklahoma education community has lamented over these last three years the fact that our state’s education system is being run by an amateur who takes her marching orders from Jeb Bush and ALEC. Many of us would like to see some sort of professional prerequisites for this office as well. While we are fortunate to have an Attorney General and a State Treasurer with relevant professional experience, nothing in the Oklahoma Constitution or anywhere in state statute mandates that. In theory, we could eventually get dentists running both of those agencies at some point as well – maybe even teachers!
In all seriousness, this field has been taking shape since August. I’m a little surprised we didn’t have another candidate or two. Oklahomans (not just educators) are beyond frustrated with the incumbent and legislature for their ongoing disrespect. Throw the governor in there too; she hasn’t done public schools or the children they serve any favors.
My hope is that concerned voters will research ALL of the candidates. These people have done something in putting their names on the ballot that most of us will never do. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a strong working knowledge of four of these people and their positions on the issues that matter to me. Now I need to learn more about the other three.
We have 74 days until the primary, and a lot of work to do.