ROPE Takes the High Road, Calls Barresi on the Carpet

Kaye Beach

May 31, 2011

This article is from Restore Oklahoma Public Education-R.O.P.E.’s latest newsletter. (sign up here to receive ROPE’s newsletter by email)

I admire their courage and adherence to principle over politics.  This is what separates the mere advocate from the Watchdog.

Thanks ROPE!

At the State Republican Convention in May, State Superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi told members present that she went up to “The Hill” to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce and told the Federal Government to stay out of “our business”.

In the actual testimony, Dr. Barresi states, “As all participating states prepare to transition to Common Core curriculum standards [initiated with Arne Duncan and the DOE], more flexibility is also needed in the use of federal funds for professional development that would support effective instructional practices. Additionally, broadening the scope of the designation of Title programs to include a wider array of subject matter, such as STEM initiatives, would help enable states to offer a more challenging curriculum.”

This does not sound like “get out of our business” so much as “give us the money and let us spend it the way we want”.

Republican Ronald Reagan wanted to abolish the Federal Department of Education created by Jimmy Carter. Our state Republican platform specifically says, “The federal government has no constitutional role in education”

Though Dr. Barresi has stated on numerous occasions that she advocates for “local control”, a post on the State Department of Education website dated “May 19th” heralded the announcement that Dr. Barresi had just joined Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change.

As is visible from the post on the left, the Chiefs are very specifically advocating MORE federal control of the already over-federalized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. How does surrendering local control of our elementary and secondary students to the federal government in turn provide local control?

According to a CATO study it doesn’t. “We find strong evidence that the widespread adoption of preschool and full-day kindergarten is unlikely to improve student achievement.”

Though recently, Dr. Barresi told an audience in Tulsa that she had not used Federal money for education reforms she has touted, the NewsOk article in the upper left, Oklahoma State Education Board awards millions to poor-performing schools, flies in the face of such a statement.

ARRA (stimulus) funds are those used to “turnaround” failing schools. Is this semantics? If the Oklahoma State Department of Education is simply ‘passing’ on the funds from the federal government to the local school, then the Department is not spending them so the Department is not taking federal funds for education reforms?

ROPE has found at least one bill “requested” by the Department containing references or inclusions for access to federal grants. Additionally, ROPE has uncovered the mechanism by which the Core Curriculum Standards and something called the P20 data system (begun by a “requested” bill) which will collect data from children across a wide range of data points and share that information in  without parental consent are linked to federal funding. We will share that with you soon.

In the meantime, we must be vigilant and continue to monitor the words and actions of our newly elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Baressi, and hold her accountable for them.

In This Issue

Oklahoma State Education Board awards millions to poor-performing schools

The School Improvement Grants were approved by the board Thursday and the federal money is intended to help the schools, all of which are in Oklahoma City, improve a track record of poor student performance.

“We’re hopeful that this will have an impact,” state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said.

Oklahoman plays key role in announcement of new Race to the Top

“Early childhood education, special for children ages birth to 3, is both a profound moral obligation and the most effective way to reverse the cycle of poverty in  America,” Kaiser said in a town-hall meeting in Washington, D.C., following Duncan’s announcement.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi Joins Jeb Bush’s “Chiefs For Change”In the “Statement of Principles for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” dated May 19, 2011, the Chiefs maintain:


Q&A With State Supt. Baressi with the Oklahoma Education Association
“No. I don’t like mandates. I’m a local control type of fan and advocate. I’m sure Oklahoma City would be happy to share their best practices in this area and results from this. My bottom line is this: I want to see the numbers. I want to see the academic outcomes as a result of this process, after they’ve had it in for a couple, three years. I want to see how it facilitates outcomes, how it facilitates learning.”

Oklahoma charter schools hire math, science teachers from overseas

The schools have come under scrutiny by conservative and tax watch groups throughout the nation, including Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE), which can be defined as both.

“If Oklahoma teachers are being laid off, why are we as Oklahoma taxpayers paying people from not even inside our country to come and teach our children?” asks Jenni White, president of ROPE.

To Read More information collected on Gulen Schools by ROPE, see this article just recently added to our website.


2 responses to “ROPE Takes the High Road, Calls Barresi on the Carpet

  1. David Lowe

    Lets check the record! As reported by two members of the Ledgslature, and Dr. Baressi at the AFP meeting in Tulsa the 26th of May; we have already sent money back to the Dept of Ed and are looking for more to send. I’d say thats a great path the Super is on with her administration.

  2. David, I neglected to add the links to additional information provided by ROPE in my initial post. I think those might provide more insight as to ROPE’s concern. I did some in depth research into the profound changes taking place in our schools’ information systems and Race To The Top competition and my conclusion was that by the choices made to participate in these programs, Oklahoma school systems had become, for all practical purposes, federally controlled.
    Janet Baressi has been active in OK school “reform” for many years. What do you think “reform” means? Is her definition and your definition the same? When she says “it became clear to me that (for) Oklahoma children, we need to focus on improving education, reforming education, to meet the demands of the needs of the 21st Century”, she’s not talking about textbooks! It’s all about IT. Information Tech. I don’t claim to be an expert on education but I do understand very well how the largely hidden data systems and attendant policies have the power to revolutionize our political system. Much of the frustration with government that is being expressed today is a result of a quiet revolution that is taking place in the information technology realm that is purposely designed without respect to jurisdiction making government accountability more and more elusive. Who is pushing funding the technology ‘reform”? Fed Gov. Now ask yourself why?

    Here are just a few items from my research.
    -Oklahoma is an active participant in the Common Core Standards Initiative, a consortium of 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia. The Initiative is coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers. The standards that are being developed will be internationally benchmarked.
    -OK is a member of the Achieve Assessment Partnership and Balanced Assessment Consortium.
    -OK is participating in the MOSAIC consortium consisting of 27 state members. This consortium will develop formative assessments aligned with the Common Core standards.

    Then there is SIF-the School Interoperability Framework which provides Seamless reporting between the district, state and federal level. Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to hook our students up to this data warehouse that collects and analyzes an unbelievable amount of intimate data on kids and their families and shares it widely not only with government but a plethora of private entities as well. have a look

    We are right where the federal government wants us. Any gestures on Baressi’s part to refuse federal control, are just that. Gestures.
    If I’m lying, I’m dying.


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