Barresi caught in another outrage
BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, February 18, 2013
2/18/13 at 8:30 AM
You need a scorecard to keep track of the outrages coming out of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi's office.
The latest is that Barresi has been traveling the state telling anyone who would listen that authors of a new report critical of the controversial A-F grading system for schools have privately recanted.
That, the authors say, is untrue. "I have no idea where that idea on the part of the superintendent came from," said senior project coordinator Patrick Forsyth, professor of education and co-director of the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. "We are perplexed by that and don't know what to make of it."
Barresi's office says it was simply a misunderstanding. That's not what the authors who were misrepresented believe.
Oklahoma State University researcher Laura Barnes said she had a conversation with Assistant Superintendent Maridyth McBee but that it was mostly a personal conversation as the two are friends.
"I had a personal conversation with Maridyth McBee because she is my friend and my former student. But Dr. Barresi wasn't there, and her statements are completely incorrect. We stand by our work and are confident in the results and the conclusions we drew," Barnes told the Tulsa World.
The Legislature approved the A-F grading system but Barresi's department wrote the rules and imposed them with virtually no input from local school officials. Most local superintendents and principals don't oppose a grading system, but they want it to be consistent, fair and transparent.
A report by senior researchers at OU and OSU concluded that the grading system is "neither clear nor comparable."
It looks as if Barresi is traveling the state telling groups what she wants them to hear - that the report's authors are privately recanting their published work.
Barresi is a loose cannon whose dedication to Oklahoma public education continues to come into question. Look for a scapegoat for this latest foul-up.
And don't be surprised when the next one pops up. Get your scorecard. It might prove to be handy come re-election time.
Original Print Headline: Loose lips
Oklahoma School Superintendent Janet Barresi (left) is greeted by Gov. Mary Fallin during the State of the State address at the Capitol in Oklahoma City Feb. 4. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World file