Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from April 22, 2011. The audio file is attached below.
Hello and welcome to my weekly video message.
I’m Janet Barresi, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction.
This week, I wanted to begin by talking about the tornadoes that struck parts of our state last week in particular, the tornado that moved through Atoka County.
The town of Tushka was hit hard and the school there was severely damaged -- many buildings are a total loss.
I visited Tushka on April 16 with Governor Fallin and had the opportunity to talk to local school officials there.
The people of this community are strong, and I was impressed with the way local officials have handled this disaster.
I know the school will quickly rebuild, and to that end I’ve worked with Governor Fallin and others to make sure that state resources are available to the district as it restarts classes and as local officials make plans for new buildings.
Governor Fallin has also asked for a federal disaster declaration for Atoka County. This would mean that those who suffered damage will be eligible for housing repairs, temporary housing, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, disaster unemployment assistance and grants for other serious needs.
We must do everything we can to assist Tushka as it rebuilds from this tragedy and to ensure they have the resources they need.
Last week, I asked the State Department of Central Services to make surplus items like desks, chairs and computers available, and I’m also working to provide the flexibility that district officials need as they plan ahead.
I hope you’ll join me in praying for people affected by this tragedy in Atoka County ... and in offering your support.
On a different note, Oklahoma continues to attract positive national attention for the education reforms we are passing, and this week we got one more affirmation that we’re on the right track.
I’ve been asked to join a national group of education reformers called ‘Chiefs for Change’ ... it's a bipartisan coalition of state education chiefs leading the nation in reform.
Together, Chiefs for Change lead education reforms in 10 states with a combined population of 60 million.
We’re working to improve academic achievement, close achievement gaps and prepare students for success in college and careers.
Being a part of Chiefs for Change is the perfect compliment to the 3R agenda to rethink, restructure and reform Oklahoma’s education system. I look forward to the positive impact it will have as I work with other reformers from around the country.
For more information about chiefs for change and our vision, you can visit chiefsforchange.org.
Thanks for watching ... and I’ll see you next week.