Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from July 8, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


 Hello. I'm Janet Barresi, state superintendent of public instruction, and welcome to my regular video message.

This week we held our annual administrators conference in Oklahoma City. It was called Innovation 2011. This event was for principals, superintendents, and other school leaders to look at best practices and innovative solutions.

Now I'm actually recording this message today in the arena where we held some of the sessions.

I also had an opportunity to deliver my first State of Education address at this event; and I wanted to share the highlights with you.

I encouraged an "all hands on deck" strategy for transforming education in this state. Whenever Oklahoma has faced a challenge, it has risen to that challenge. We don't need to wait for more money or more time. The solutions to our problems are right here in Oklahoma. But it's going to require every single one of us from business and civic leaders to every parent; every teacher and administrator finding common ground on those solutions.

Oklahoma has seen more cuts to state government this year. To put it bluntly, Oklahoma has more government that it can afford. We have to face up to a new normal in which there is less money for every single priority. It's just like a family planning a household budget; we have to make realistic decisions. In the case of education, I think one measure of our success will be our reaction to those realities. We can either sit on our hands and just hope that things go back to the way they were, or we can take control of our future, and the future of our children.

That's why the 3R Agenda to rethink, restructure and reform education in Oklahoma is so important. We've achieved major reforms this year, but our work is far from over.

I'm working hard to reorganize the State Department of Education to focus on a well defined mission that include literacy, science, technology, engineering and math known as the STEM Initiative; and the basic notion that college ready and career ready should mean the same thing.

Not all these reforms and changes are popular with everyone in our state. And certainly not every hard decision I've made about budget cuts have been popular with some adults. But I'm in this office because I want to work for the children of the state. I'm focused on what's best for our kids, not for adults. That's my calling, and I'm here for the students. I'm here for your children and your grandchildren.

Thanks for listening, and I'll see you again soon.

Last updated on December 14, 2011