Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from Feb. 18, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


Hello and welcome to my weekly video message.

I’m Janet Barresi, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Oklahoma.

I had the privilege this week of speaking with teachers and administrators from across the state when 71 Oklahoma schools were honored in the Great Expectations Winter meeting.

Great Expectations is an Oklahoma success story implementing classroom management practices that require high standards of knowledge and skills for teachers and those teachers instill character and integrity in their students.

I’m so proud of the schools that are actively engaged in this excellent program, and I was honored to be a part of this week’s events at UCO.

Speaking of great teachers, congratulations to every Oklahoma teacher who worked hard toward gaining National Board Certification this year. I’ve had the privilege of having board-certified teachers as friends, and I know how much work goes into achieving this distinction.

Last month the Oklahoma State Board of Education was faced with a difficult decision about bonuses for board-certified teachers, and I'd like to clear up some recent confusion about the board's vote. The State Board of Education first took action on this matter last year, but took it up again on Jan. 27 to correct previous budgeting errors that were out of alignment with a mandate from the Legislature.

The Oklahoma Legislature mandated by law that speech/language pathologists, school psychologists and counselors be included in the pool of funds distributed for National Board bonuses.

Because of a tight state budget and an executive by Governor Henry the overall amount of funds available to each recipient is smaller.

Oklahoma continues to face a budget shortfall this year. As your State Superintendent, I will continue to work hard to ensure we find ways to reward our best teachers and I’ll continue to fight for reforms that make our schools better places for teachers to work in.

In fact, this week important legislation that will do just that passed its first major hurdle. A Senate bill and a House bill have both passed committee. Both bills would require that schools be given an annual grade of “A” to “F” based on student performance.

If I told you that your school had an API score of 1371, most people would have a hard time understanding what that means. But if I told you that your school received a grade of C, you’d understand the challenge and you’d probably want to know how you could help to make things better.

Making Oklahoma’s schools better requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.

It requires all of us working together; great teachers doing amazing things in schools, parents willing to make sure their kids are focused on the importance of academic achievement, and citizens focused on what’s best for children, rather than focusing on what makes adults feel better about themselves.

Let’s accept the challenge to rethink, restructure and reform our system of education in Oklahoma.

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

Last updated on December 14, 2011