Sunday, October 21, 2012

A year-and-a-half ago, I listened to Dr. Barresi's first State School Board meeting. She obviously came into the meeting determined to antagonize members of the Board, and she did. This is the first commentary I wrote about education 'reform' in our state. The images here are still the dominate ones, even though the entire Board has now been replaced by appointees by the Governor. All the posturing and manufactured outrage after that meeting in 2011 set the tone for the bullying behavior of our OSDE and our Superintendent of Public Schools who's trying to privatize the schools. I offer it as the first look at what we've been suffering ever since.

The cartoon and editorial in the Sunday Oklahoman depicts the Oklahoma School Board as a bunch of misbehaving youngsters and Superintendent Barresi as the harried teacher trying to keep order. The details sympathized with Dr. Barresi's attempts to keep her unruly class in order.

I listened to the meeting online, and I have another perspective.

Much has been made of Senator Rozell’s inappropriate remark. 

But, as any teacher or parent will tell you, the person who swings the roundhouse, as he did here,  is not the one who started the altercation, just the one who got caught. So, who was throwing sand and poking sticks? Who started the fight?

Listen to the meeting and you’ll see Superintendent Barresi was not an innocent victim of the mean old Board.

Some of the sand thrown by Superintendent Barresi:

·         Not replying to Board member Gilpin’s requests for information about the proposed members of the Superintendent’s staff, people who worked on Superintendent Barresi’s campaign but have no education training or experience.
·         Appointing people to senior positions in the SDE who have neither training nor experience in education. Superintendent Barresi’s answer was they ‘had worked with educators.’
·         Allowing her campaign aides to work in senior positions at the SDE before the Board approved their hiring
·         Paying these campaign aides with funds from a private Foundation
·         Appointing a woman to the position of Legislative Liaison who will be absent from the job during the most important weeks of the Session
·         Introducing her ‘staff’ and sharing the happy news about new babies before any staff was approved.
·         Increasing the salaries for her campaign aides from the previous staff positions from $75,000 to $96,000.

So, imagine yourself on the playground with another child who threw sand in your face, who poked you with a stick, but only when no one was watching. Then imagine you’re the one who got blamed for the entire altercation. Did you do the wrong thing? Absolutely. Should you say ‘sorry’? Absolutely. 

But what about the sand-thrower? Should she say ‘sorry’ too? Absolutely.  

Happens every day on playgrounds.  Teachers know to look for the child with sandy fingers , dropping a sharp stick.

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