Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from Feb. 25, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


Hello and welcome to my weekly video message.

I’m Janet Barresi, Oklahoma’s state superintendent for public instruction.

This week I had the privilege of speaking to a packed house at Tulsa’s Renaissance Convention Center as Tulsa tech students were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society for their academic excellence.

My speech to this gathering was fitting, because this week the State Board of Education also approved a pre-engineering career academy at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center.

This innovative program is rigorous, relevant and reality-based. It's exposing high school students to the amazing future ahead of them in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It’s also hands-on and students in the program have the opportunity to receive patents.

Think about the transformative power a program like this could have on Oklahoma; preparing our kids to compete in the global marketplace, preparing them to become inventors and entrepreneurs and to do it all from within our state’s borders.

Never before have the barriers to being an innovator and entrepreneur been lower for anyone with the ambition and dedication to take advantage of the open-source revolution, on-demand manufacturing and web 2.0 technologies.

If Oklahoma is going to move forward in the 21st century, we must embrace initiatives that equip students with critical thinking skills and a creative mindset.

I’m also excited to see how quickly lawmakers are moving on legislation to implement a new grading system for schools. Two measures – Senate Bill 348 and House Bill 1456 – have either passed committee or a floor vote.

Both bills would give parents and citizens an easy-to-understand way to compare schools and to see how their children’s schools are doing.

Right now it’s difficult for parents to determine how their schools are performing. Under these two bills schools would receive an annual report card a grade of a to f just like the report cards their students receive.

The legislation is similar to a plan passed in Florida more than 10 years ago. Florida saw continual improvement year after year after passing the plan.

Now I’ve heard concerns from some who say this system of grading schools would cause competition among schools  to which I say, absolutely! That’s the entire point!

Competition spurs excellence. It works in the private sector when businesses compete and it will work for schools, too.

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

Last updated on December 14, 2011