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Is “PASS” The Pathway to Student Success

October 9, 2014

This article was submitted to the Duncan Banner September 29, 2014 for publication. It was published October the 8th. Although dated it is still revealant.

Is “P.A.S.S.” The Pathway to Student Success?
Our statewide media airways have been overloaded in the last week with criticisms of Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barres‘s latest actions, the hiring of Larry Birney as the new Assistant Superintendent for Accreditation, a newly created position. Although Mr. Birney has many degrees in education administration, his last 35 plus years has been in the field of law enforcement.
If the last three years has shown us anything, it is that in today’s environment – blaming the poor educational system on our teachers – we do not need a pistol-packing assistant superintendent of public instruction enforcing accreditation standards for our public schools.
What we do need is a qualified leader to guide us through today’s educational “minefield” created by our Oklahoma State Legislature and Governor when they withdrew from the Common Core testing requirements and reverted to Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS). Qualified leadership has been sadly lacking from this current administration.
The on-again off-again selection of a vendor for testing students to ascertain if they meet standards which have not yet been clarified only compounds the problem.
okeducationtruths reports:
“A. Teachers in Oklahoma that have taught since September of 1992 and others throughout the state are already aligned to PASS. The primary problem those educators have is helping their students prove they’ve learned what today’s tests might include.
B. Lots of educators have formative and summative assessments aligned to PASS. More importantly, the Oklahoma State Department of Education should own a dozen years’ worth of valid, field-tested and reliable test items. Though there are several, Hill-McGraw was the only testing organization contacted.
C. In just 3 ½ years, the OSDE has become legendary at changing programs — hardware, software and data collection — or standards and penalties on schools, and expecting educators to make it work on a dime. Maybe some students could test in December or January. What difference would it make?”
With calls for Barresi’s resignation from members of her party and members of the Oklahoma State Board of Education, it is now more difficult to justify her request for a new waiver of “No Child Left Behind.”
In an attempt to “salvage” some semblance of order in the Oklahoma educational system, the state Board of Education will hold town hall meetings at selected sites in Oklahoma to address education. The first meeting was held in Durant September 29th; the last is in Kingfisher on November 17th. Our county’s nearest meeting location is Chickasha, Thursday, October 9th at Chickasha High School. These meetings will address the problems of education in Oklahoma. They will provide information on how the loss of the “No Child Left Behind” waiver will influence locals schools and will offer an opportunity for Oklahomans to be re-educated on the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) system which local schools will be using for the next two years.
“This is a great opportunity for people to learn about some significant changes in Oklahoma schools. The future success of Oklahoma depends on a strong and vibrant education system, and that can only happen when communities get involved,” espoused State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi.
Oklahoma needs a quality educational system to guide our students. A recent study published by Mission Readiness, comprised of 450 retired U.S. generals and admirals, showed that THREE OUT OF FOUR young Oklahomans are ineligible for military service. The top two reasons were “obesity,“ and “lack of education.” What a shame if, in the near future, Oklahoma’s educational system was proclaimed a problem to the defense of our freedom and democracy here in the United States of America.
Our youth deserves an educational system which will prepare them for not only their future but ours as well. To ensure a quality education, we must have experienced school administrators at the head of this state’s educational system!
With a qualified, up-to-date educator as Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, with a Legislature to ensure proper funding for the schools to operate, today’s problems will correct themselves!

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