Another Bush Chief For Change, Another Misinformation Campaign


It appears that another one of Bush’s Chiefs for Change, Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, is on a similar state-wide tour to advance another Bush policy. And like Robinson in Florida last year, Barresi is spinning to protect his agenda. From the editors of Tulsa World:

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.”

With revelations that the Bush foundation would provide  to Barresi “air cover — op eds, tweets, letters to the editor, and even expert testimony at the board meeting if you need it,” it’s not a stretch to conclude they’d be advising Barresi on talking points, too. Just like they did for Robinson’s ill-fated effort last year. The editors of Tulsa World have clearly had it with Barresi:

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.

That’s poppycock.

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.

A loose cannon? Wow. Bush’ school grade formula – they change it every year –  has become a bit of a loose cannon in Florida, too. So much, in fact, that the leader of the Florida Senate was quoted as saying there was a chance of Florida’s entire accountability system “imploding.” Wherever Bush’s Chiefs for Change have set up shop – like Florida and Oklahoma – Bush’s foundation drives policy. And in the event policy goes bad, they orchestrate the spin campaign, too.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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One Response to Another Bush Chief For Change, Another Misinformation Campaign

  1. Pingback: Oklahoma Chief Channels Jeb Bush « Diane Ravitch's blog

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