The Oklahoma State Board of Education on Jan. 26, 2012, adopted a resolution to fully support Superintendent Janet Barresi’s goal of having all students in Oklahoma college, career and citizen ready by the year 2020, known as her C³ Plan. The resolution recognized adherence to the Achieving Classroom Excellence Act, enacted by the state Legislature in 2005, which requires all graduating seniors, beginning this year, to have passed four of seven end-of-instruction tests (EOIs). The resolution also recognized the leadership of the Legislature in passing reforms such as the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation process, third-grade graduation requirements, the A-F grading system for schools, adherence to Oklahoma C³ Standards, and ensuring state student assessments will be rigorous through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PAARC) consortium. Most notably, the resolution recognizes that the repeal of any of these reforms would result in the nullification of Oklahoma’s waiver, if granted by the U.S. Department of Education, from No Child Left Behind. Board members were informed that the state should know very soon whether the waiver request has been granted.
Also in Thursday’s meeting, board member Joy Hofmeister was sworn into office. Hofmeister was appointed earlier this month by Gov. Mary Fallin to replace Philip Lakin Jr. who resigned after being elected to the Tulsa City Council. Hofmeister represents Congressional District 1. She will serve the remainder of Lakin’s term through April 15, pending Senate confirmation. Hofmeister is a former public school teacher who currently is president of Kumon of South Tulsa, a local franchise of the international firm that provides math and reading enrichment to children in 47 counties. She serves on the board of directors for the Jenks Public Schools Foundation, is participating in the Jenks Select Committee for Study of School Finance, and previously worked on the Math Textbook Adoption Committee, also for Jenks Public Schools. Hofmeister has experience working with Special Education teams and students on an Individual Education Plan (IEP); and has also participated in the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) research testing. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in education from Texas Christian University and teaching certificates in English and Elementary Education. She lives in Tulsa with her husband. They have four children.
In addition, the Board voted to revoke the teaching license of Kimberly Crain, a former McLoud third-grade teacher who resigned in November after being arrested on complaints of lewd acts with children and possession of child pornography. Crain has not been convicted but legal counsel advised the board that because she was in violation of the Oklahoma Teacher Code of Conduct for exploiting students for personal gain, the board had every right to revoke her license.
The Board also approved two new end-of-course alternative projects that students can turn in to meet Achieving Classroom Excellence graduation requirements for Algebra I. The board was advised by Melissa White, executive director of counseling and ACE for the State Department of Education, that the alternative projects were every bit as rigorous as end-of-instruction exams but allow students to exhibit knowledge in a way other than multiple choice questions. Math instructors from across the state designed the projects – “Shield Yourself” and “Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain.” The Board also voted to allow English Language Learners to be read English II tests if they are taking the test for the second time as a junior after completing remediation and passing the course. The provision would help clarify the meanings of words that may not translate as well in English as in a student’s native language, White explained.