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Required – A Qualified Educator

January 15, 2014

This article published in Duncan OK Banner January 15, 2014.

 

       REQUIRED – A  QUALIFIED  EDUCATOR 

Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Education, Janet Barresi, snubbed the Oklahoma Education Association’s invitation to speak at their convention, stating she…“did not want to have her views filtered through the lens of liberal union bosses.”  This, to a group representing approximately 35,000 teachers, staff and retirees who have welcomed past candidates running for State Superintendent of Education.

One educator’s BLOG, Okeducationtruths, summed it up (quote), “Painting this issue as one of a ‘transparent conservative’ against a liberal union serves two purposes. It feeds red meat to her base supporters during the primary campaign. And it distracts from the issues.”

If she does not want to take responsibility for her remarks, so be it. To compensate, she has blamed everyone in the education system from school boards, district superintendents and teachers for poor management of non-existent state-provided funding, to claiming our educators are inept when applying newly enacted teaching and testing standards.

Out-of-date hi-tech communications systems in less wealthy school districts was unmistakably revealed at the end of the 2012-2013 school year when computer systems crashed during final school year testings. If the total number of tests which were affected was ever revealed to the state, results weren’t shared with major media. We do know that those flaws occurred well past time for college admissions reports.

Superintendent Barresi refuses to respond to queries by school administrators or teachers regarding her insistence that the new testing and grading requirements of those tests is the product of the Oklahoma Board of Education and her department.  She fails to mention

that the tests are written by companies who support, and are guided by, the American Legislative Exchange Counsel – better known as ALEC.  Another notable fact is that the standards for testing are a product of Achieve, a “bi-partisan organization” made up of current  or former corporation officers and Republican governors (with the exception of the governor of Massachusetts).  Simply put, that board possesses no Oklahoma representation. 

Why doesn’t Oklahoma’s government support and fully fund a rounded public education system in grades pre-K through 12?  If this was done equitably, taxpayer money would be spent to benefit all students, rather than portioning part of public school funds to for-profit schools which don’t fall under current oversight guidelines for standards of teaching and testing. Remember, these schools don’t have to publish academic results for grading as do public schools.

Like most state and federally mandated laws, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law was never properly funded by either level of government.

Common Core was the main stay to insuring that tax payer money was being spent wisely and financially establishes a requirement for “Standardized Testing”. However, without adequate funding, striving to accomplish statewide standards will cause less affluent school districts to fail the A-F grading system advanced by Achieve.  Unless the Oklahoma Legislature is willing to furnish sufficient funds to place all Oklahoma school districts onto a level academic playing field, Common Core will not work. A child may only remain in the third grade so many years before the student is too big to sit at the desk.

This writer wonders.  Does ALEC know that Ms. Barresi, in her own words, “believes that 75% of Special Education students have been mis-identified?”

Be prepared.  Costs of testing are going to rise. If the subject is not Science, Reading or Math, it is headed for the academic “chopping block.”  Along with the demise of English, Art, Social Studies and Music, Sports – including football – will eventually follow.  How, then, shall Oklahoma’s students compete?  What motivation will they have to reach for the stars?

This year, the choice is yours.  Shall we continue selling out to Achieve and ALEC or restore local control?  Shall students of this and future generations excel academically?  Oklahoma needs a Superintendent of Instruction who is an expert in the field of Public Education!

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