Monday, September 29, 2014

What we've got here is failure to communicate

I just love the movie Cool Hand Luke as it is full of classic movie quotes.  I couldn't help but think of Cool Hand Luke as I sat at my computer and watched the live stream of last SBOE meeting.  

·                 We have a new sheriff in town!

I’m sure by now you’ve read plenty about new Assistant State Supt Dr. Birney.  He is the former Director of CLEET who will now be the lead investigator for accreditation infractions committed by all of those outlaw schools. Dr. Barresi accused schools of breaking the law and said her own staff was complicit in the lawlessness by “tipping off” administrators who made evidence disappear.  Are you serious?  Do you get some sort of political prize by slandering both your biggest detractors and biggest supporters in the same statement?  If this is true, what does this say about her administration?  How far does the corruption extend in the SDE? Maybe this is what Dr. Birney will be investigating... Naw, I don’t think so either.

·                 Testing company, we don’t need no testing company

So last April the SDE was shocked that CTB couldn’t provide our test without major technical problems.  Fast forward 5 months and Barresi’s is shocked people are upset with her $2.8 million recommendation to award CTB with a contract for this year’s winter/trimester testing.  Here is the question I haven’t seen anyone ask as of yet; did the SDE just forget we have a winter/trimester testing window? As soon as CTB got fired in May, why didn’t the SDE put out an RFP for this December’s testing window? Was it because JB was so busy with politics she didn’t do her job?  Remember in April and May, she was so busy trying to keep intact her absurd 3rd grade retention law, she was fighting like hell to keep common core, she was traveling the state trying to win re-election, and she was lashing out at anyone who disagreed with her politics. 

·                Some call for Barresi to step down. 

OEA, Oklahoma PTA, Rep. Smalley, and even Oklahoma SBOE member Gen. Baxter called for Barresi to resign.  I completely disagree.  Yep, I don’t want Barresi to resign.  For the past three years educators have been trying to tell everyone how bad Barresi was for Oklahoma.  Man, were we underselling it! I feel like with each passing day we get back some of the credibility the reformists and the Daily Oklahoman stole from us by denigrating our efforts to improve public education.  For those of you who fear the irreparable harm she might cause these last couple of months, relax.  The Gov. is silent, the legislature won’t be caught dead talking to her, and the SBOE has completely ostracized her.  I feel like I’ve earned my ticket to witness the JB crazy train. 

·                  Zebras can’t change their stripes..

At least Barresi is consistent.  In her very first SBOE meeting, the meeting became contentious when Barresi’s questionable hiring practices were criticized by a Gov. Brad Henry appointed State Board of Education.  Not much has changed because at the September SBOE meeting, Gov. Fallin’s appointed State Board of Education members criticized Barresi’s questionable hiring practices.  I wonder if our legislature regrets giving all that power to the State Supt, especially when the SBOE can’t do anything about it.  Ask Gen. Baxter; he calls it like he sees it.

·                 SDE is going to teach teachers how to teach PASS objectives.

This makes no sense to me.  The SDE wants to waste precious time and other resources teaching teachers how to teach to a set of standards we are going to not have in 2 years?  Their argument is we have lots of new teachers who’ve never taught PASS objectives? Here is why this is a BS argument. If the standards are subpar, then why teach teachers how to teach to them.  Is JB now for inferior standards?  If they are not inferior, then why do we need new standards? They say some teachers have never taught PASS. So! Those teachers have taught before.  Let’s give our teachers resources and training beneficial to them now and in the future.  Teaching teachers how to teach PASS objectives is about as silly as teaching them how to set the time on their classroom VCR.

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