Friday, February 15, 2013

How Do You Solve The Problem Of Dr. Barresi?



Superintendent Janet Barresi is making daily news of late.  Today we read, "Authors dispute claim by Barresi".  

Apparently Dr. Barresi spoke to the Tulsa County Republican Women's Luncheon and told attendees that the authors of the study which debunked the state's A-F grading system had recanted. 

One of the attendees, Jenny Hudspeth, a member of the Tulsa Area Parents Legislative Action Committee (PLAC) says, 
"She also said she would like an apology from the authors with as much fanfare as the release of the report."
Notice the force of that statement.  Oftentimes, those who wish to mislead use hubris to elicit an "appeal to authority" response in listeners:  facts are replaced by an emotional statement, which, when provided by an authority figure, creates a sense of urgency - an appeal to the listener for solidarity.

An abuse of the public trust such as this is bad enough, but once caught, Dr. Barresi throws Assistant Superintendent Meridyth McBee under the bus by saying her remarks were the result of a misunderstanding between herself and McBee - another apparent falsehood.

Moreover and possibly more interesting in the Tulsa World article, was the comment made by Patrick Forsyth, one of the A-F critque researchers,
"I just think that there isn't anyone at the state Department (of Education) who can really understand the scope of the critique," he said. "From what was reported to me, the superintendent is just essentially dismissive of the report."
ROPE was able to read and digest the report and produce an informed opinion echoing the thesis of the researchers.

Interestingly, ROPE has had the exact experience described by Dr. Forsyth.

In 2011, Representative Sally Kern - the only Oklahoma State legislator to ever really question the Common Core State Standards initiative - was granted an Interim study before the House Education Committee on the issue.  Because the Heritage Foundation is among the strongest critics of the CCSS, Lindsey Burke, a Heritage Expert, came to Oklahoma to testify before the few legislators that attended the study.  ROPE also gave a presentation to the committee based on our several years of research on the issue.

Dr. Barresi was given the opportunity to make her case for the CCSS directly after we presented our case against the initiative.  We have video encompassing the entire study.  In her initial remarks, Dr. Barresi told the committee,
"We are all entitled to our own opinions.  We are NOT entitled to our own facts.
It was obvious to nearly all in attendance, that Dr. Barresi was disparaging our research - actual research made up from over 100 different citations to government websites and other papers and articles (that has now been read and cited thousands of times).

During the study, Dr. Barresi also made disparaging remarks to Representative Kern, who then asked Dr. Barresi to supply the legislature with a written summation to include specific ways in which the Heritage Foundation and ROPE were wrong in our presentations.

The response took many weeks and inquiries from Representative Kern's office to make it's way to her desk.  Once produced, the 'report' was found to be, unarguably, the most unenlightened, uninformed piece of writing (research?) anyone could read.  It was clear from the first sentence that Dr. Barresi's staff had simply gone onto the Common Core website, lifted quote after quote on the initiative and placed them into a quickly-worded response - as though they believed they were never actually going to be expected to produce the promised rebuttal.  There was no indication of research or information gleaned from sources other than those connected to the CCSS.  It was truly nothing more than an opinion piece which appeared as more of a marketing exercise than a true literature survey or formal response of any kind.

In fact, we were so dismayed by the comments, ROPE wrote a statement in response.

All this information should be troubling as it shows clearly a pattern in which the Oklahoma Department of Education under the leadership of Janet Barresi, neither understands nor appreciates informed opinion and/or the tenets of basic research.  How can a department of "education" exist in this realm?

Clearly it can not.  Clearly, this kind of administration must seek outside assistance for creation and support of educational programming and initiatives - as we have seen with the OSDE and the Foundation for Educational Excellence - because there is apparently not enough utilized expertise in the Department to creatively attack educational issues on a state (local) basis.

Republicans must wake up.  Instead of swallowing every line of every candidate and/or elected official with an "R" behind their name, hook line and sinker, we must do more.  We must SEEK TRUTH.

Ronald Reagan uttered the the 11th Commandment in 1966, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."  The Republican Party has been unable or unwilling to let go of that thought since, and it has completely ruined our Party.  Though both Democrat and Republican parties have been infiltrated by Progressives bent on destroying this country from inside by increasing government and government regulation of American lives at every turn, much of the Republican establishment remains firmly rooted in 1966, bowing at the alter of Reagan while the world crashes down around us (INCALCULABLE NATIONAL DEBT FOR EXAMPLE?)

I loved Ronald Reagan - I perceived him as a father figure that must have been the sweetest soul to ever have walked the planet.  He was the first president for whom I cast a vote.  You can not tell me he would be pleased with the Republican Party today - there is nothing in his memoirs that would suggest such a thought.  You can not tell me he would sit idly by while Republican Progressives destroyed the Party's base - by undermining it's long-held tenets of smaller government, lower taxes and personal freedom.

Wake up REPUBLICANS.  WAKE UP!  Your Party is no longer the Party of Reagan and if we don't start making those who wear an "R" beside their name accountable to the platform of its grass roots, we will lose our Party and our Country!  Let us with boldness declare the truth.  Let us with boldness stand for our principles.  Let us with boldness hold accountable those who would undermine our ethics and our beliefs and let us start NOW.