Thursday, August 4, 2011

Barresi Update: The Oklahoma School Superintendent's Continuing Shortsightedness

Oklahoma School Superintendent Janet "Cut & Chop" Barresi has been on the job less than a year. But that hasn't stopped her from making Oklahoma schools worse.

We were reminded of Barresi's wrecking ball approach to public education recently by an op-ed in the Tulsa World. Poteau history teacher Thomas Brennan noted public education has served Oklahoma well, providing opportunities for all children no matter where they live or what their level of family income. (A link to Brennan's piece is here.)

"Public education was a great unifier of shared culture and values that strengthened the middle class of America and was at the core of our democracy," Brennan wrote.

But the state legislature, Gov. Fallin and Supt. Barresi are undermining this legacy, Brennan added. Barresi cut funding for Advanced Placement programs, for example, then had the nerve "to complain that too many high school graduates are not ready for college."

Barresi also cut funds for alternative education—including Tulsa's Street School—and dropped state support for National Board Certified Teachers.

Hey, who needs well-qualified teachers?

Sure, funds are tight. The state has budget problems. We know this. But Barresi and others state leaders have taken a meat ax to the education budget and done precious little to make solve the state's funding problems.

Brennan summed up the problem with a grade for Oklahoma's leaders. It's a well-deserved F.

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