Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from March 25, 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 officially launched the 3R agenda to rethink, restructure and reform our state’s  system of education. This week, I wanted to spend a little more time talking about the first ‘R’ in the agenda, to rethink our entire approach to education in the 21st century.

Across the planet inexpensive digital technology, social media and web 2.0 tools are changing how we live and how we relate to one another in profound ways we are only beginning to understand.

This revolution is making it easier than ever before for entrepreneurs and innovators to achieve their vision.

So Rethink is about asking challenging questions about what’s in the best interest of our children.  Shouldn’t students across the state have instant access to the best teachers we have to offer? Are our children prepared to compete with the best and brightest around the world?

Oklahoma must buck the status quo, embrace technology and our digital future, moving beyond the monolithic models of the 20th century classroom, so that we can empower teachers, students and parents.

So what does all of this mean in practical terms? We’re focusing on three areas, a content-rich student data system, access to digital learning and the pressing need for Oklahoma to engage in the global competition for excellence.

Let’s talk about student data. That may not sound exciting, but it has the potential to transform teacher effectiveness and student success. Oklahoma’s current student data system, the Wave, must be overhauled so that if offers more accessible up-to-date data for teachers and administrators, so that teachers can spot problems early and individualize instruction for different learning styles.

What about digital learning? The truth is we have only scratched the surface of the power for digital learning. Several weeks ago, I visited Crescent schools, where they are participating in the one-to-one laptop program. And there are online resources with endless free content for students and teachers.

Late last year, the digital learning council led by former governors Bob Wise and Jeb Bush introduced the “Ten Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning,” a blueprint on how digital learning can transform education. The State Department of Education is taking the DLC’s findings into consideration as it prepares digital initiatives. The transformation is under way across America, and Oklahoma cannot afford to be left behind.

Finally, we must be willing to compete globally in the knowledge economy. Oklahoma is overflowing with entrepreneurial spirit, but proficiencies for many students in reading, science and math are below where they should be.

Unless we increase student knowledge in these areas, our state will fall further behind. So the third part of “Rethink” is a comprehensive effort to boost student achievement in literacy for both reading and math, and to encourage more science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction, also known as “STEM.”

I had the opportunity this last weekend to attend the first robotics competition in Oklahoma City. It was exciting to see the results of weeks of hard work by students, teachers and sponsors. Students had so much fun they didn’t even realize they were learning. But these students have now been exposed to the exciting future ahead for them in science and engineering fields.

Next week I’ll share with you the 3R agenda vision for ‘Restructuring’ the Oklahoma Department of Education.

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

Last updated on December 14, 2011