Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from Nov. 30, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


Hello and welcome to my regular video message. I’m Janet Barresi, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction.

This week, I wanted to talk about Oklahoma’s application for a waiver from No Child Left Behind. Oklahoma was one of only 11 states to meet the early deadline in November to apply for a waiver.

While No Child Left Behind has been a positive bipartisan reform for our nation, it’s also clear that states need more flexibility to pursue reforms that will benefit each child … And we need to adopt an accountability system in Oklahoma that will give schools room to grow and innovate. With a waiver from federal no child left behind requirements, Oklahoma will be empowered to stay on the reform path.

A waiver will not be a step back from reform and accountability; it will be an important step forward.
I’ve spent much of the past year traveling all over the state visiting schools -- sitting down with parents, educators and school administrators to hear about both anxieties and aspirations, their hopes as well as their headaches.

I’ve seen that educators, parents and community members alike are hungry for reform. In developing our waiver application, we reached out to these important stakeholders across the state.

And we’ve developed an ambitious goal: by the year 2020, each student graduating from an Oklahoma high school must be college, career and citizen ready. Building on the success of slate of reforms passed by the state legislature and signed into law this year, this “c3 plan” sets the stage for Oklahoma to win the competition for excellence in the 21st century.

Only states that are leading the way on reforms can expect to be successful in gaining the flexibility that a waiver will provide.

Our waiver application also prepares for a variety of ways to help schools that are struggling, including the option to intervene in the management of a low performing school, if necessary, so that kids are getting the education they deserve.

And our waiver application anticipates a new teacher and leader effectiveness system for Oklahoma. On December 5th, the teacher and leader effectiveness commission will meet to make recommendations on this new statewide system.

The commission has been meeting since June. While the commission will continue to meet, this is an important milestone and will give the state department of education critical guidance as we move forward.

The new teacher and leader effectiveness system will be one that is focused on helping teachers achieve their best and on encouraging the most effective teaching practices in the classroom.

Before the commission’s December meeting, the public still has an opportunity to comment on preliminary recommendations.

I encourage all Oklahomans to take that opportunity. You can view the commission’s preliminary recommendations by going to our TLE commission web page linked from the top of our home page at sde-dot-ok-gov.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you soon.

Last updated on December 14, 2011