Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from April 1, 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.

Last week, I began sharing more details about the 3R agenda that I launched in March – to rethink, restructure and reform our state’s education system. You can find information about the 3R agenda on our homepage.

This week I was honored to stand with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as he joined Governor Fallin and legislative leaders in supporting the 3R agenda, and the drive for comprehensive education reforms in Oklahoma.

I also wanted to spend some more time this week sharing my vision for the second ‘R’ – to restructure Oklahoma’s department of education.

We’re aiming for a comprehensive overhaul of the State Department of Education’s operations and organizational culture – moving away from being primarily a regulatory agency to a service organization for students, parents and school districts.

What does that mean in practice? First, we must ensure that more dollars are getting to the classroom, rather than concentrating critical dollars on administrative overhead. So I’ve ordered two top-to-bottom audits of the state department – a financial audit and a performance audit.

Given the size of Oklahoma’s state budget shortfall, the department must undergo these audits to determine exactly how dollars are being spent, how we can take advantage of new technologies, how operations can be streamlined and how we can restructure the department to better respond to the needs of Oklahoma’s school children.

Second, restructure means ensuring accountability and transparency. That’s one of the main reasons I launched this video series when I first took office in January.

We will also ensure accountability and transparency through an improved web presence, simplified financial coding for districts and by sharing information more broadly with stakeholders. And we will seek to share information through web-based “dashboard reports” that help parents, our citizens, all understand our department’s expenditures and results.

These same dashboard reports will also be utilized at the district level.

The third part of restructuring is improved communications.

We’re working on a variety of projects including, as I mentioned, an overhaul of the website, outreach through social media, and more.

We’re also looking at the potential of online resources that can provide students with free learning tools.

The final aspect of restructuring is achieving cost savings through shared services and purchasing co-ops.

Right now we’re engaged in a review of the state department’s information technology needs with the state’s new chief information officer. It’s already been estimated that state government could save more than a hundred million dollars through a more organized information technology system. We’re joining in that effort.

We’re also reviewing purchasing cooperatives among school districts across the state to save money on equipment, fuel and other needs.

The overall goal of our restructuring effort is to run the state’s education system as efficiently and effectively as possible, so that Oklahoma’s children reap the benefits.

Next week I’ll share more details about the third ‘R’ in our 3R agenda – enacting bold reforms –  that emphasize accountability, raising standards, and offering more choice.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week.

Last updated on December 14, 2011