Columns


Addressing Teacher Shortages

We’re at a crisis point in this state when it comes to our teacher shortage. For years we’ve seen shortages in subjects such as science and math, but now we are starting to see this spread to areas such as elementary and early childhood.  That’s a new phenomenon and one that must be reversed.

Late this summer, I convened an Educator Workforce Shortage Task Force made up of teachers, school administrators, higher education officials, state legislators and other civic leaders. I asked them to examine all aspects of the issue and devise action steps to help us move past this crisis.

The Power of Assessments

I had the opportunity last week to participate in an interim study on Oklahoma school assessments hosted by state Sen. John Ford and state Rep. Ann Coody. I thank them and the other lawmakers in the room for the time they spent over the course of two days to hear from experts in every area of assessments. Presenters included classroom teachers, school administrators, higher education representatives, major testing companies such as ACT and SAT, and technology experts.

Putting an End to Bullying

I have read with horror the recent news accounts about Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old Florida girl who killed herself after what authorities said was unrelenting bullying by other girls in her community.

Such high-profile stories have become all too commonplace over the past few years. In Oklahoma, we’ve had our own tragic examples of children bullied to the point of suicide.

It must stop.

Rewarding Excellence

Ever give your child money for a job well done – maybe $5 for keeping his or her room clean or for helping with chores around the house, maybe a reward for good grades?

It works in business on a larger scale, and it should work the same in state government. You reward exceptional performance, and in so doing, you incentivize others to strive for similar success.

Fostering A Culture of Good Character

I had the pleasure recently of hosting the first meeting of the Character Education Task Force.

More than 20 representatives of school districts, civic groups and faith-based organizations from throughout the state joined members of the state’s Parent Teacher Association in the initial meeting earlier this month. In doing so, we are laying the groundwork for something I hope will help in the development of character education in Oklahoma schools.

Reading to Succeed

As the third-grade reading law takes effect this school year, I have been contacted by a number of parents and teachers worried about the possibility that their child or pupil might be retained.

The question often posed to me is: How can we consider holding back a child from moving on to the next grade?

The question I pose to them is: How can we consider promoting a child who can’t read?

Seeing the benefit of Advanced Placement

The College Board’s 2014 Advanced Placement (AP) Report to the Nation showed some encouraging signs for Oklahoma.

Among its findings, I was pleased to see that in May of last year, Oklahoma high school students achieved a score of 3 or higher on more than 13,000 AP exams. If each of these scores resulted in three college credits earned at state universities, students and their families stood to save almost $9 million in tuition.

Time on Tests

By Janet Barresi, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Thursday, March 13, 2013

I hear from educators and parents throughout the state about “teaching to the test” and time spent on testing. I agree teachers should spend more time teaching and students should spend less time worrying about tests.

But I want to clear up some myths.

Bridging the Gap

 
There was a time when a high school diploma was enough to give someone a fighting chance for economic success.

But those days appear to be over.

Vision 2020

By Janet Barresi, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In only a few weeks, I will welcome thousands of teachers from across the state to the State Department of Education’s Vision 2020 conference.

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Last updated on December 31, 1969