Oklahoma State Board of Education member General Baxter, in a statement posted to social media and re-posted inside the blog, Oklahoma Education Truths (General Baxter Says It Even Better), said,
3. Now we have 2 Senators, Brecheen and Sykes, who declare these OKLAHOMA educators are not smart enough, not capable enough nor talented enough to do the job. Instead they want the inputs of a Massachussets/ Arkansas arrogant miscreant who admires only her own standards, and the radicalized splinter group called ROPE who have just declared “public education is not worth restroring.” Every teacher in the state should be completely insulted by the actions of these two. Like me, they are Republicans. I am not proud of them. None participated in public comment forums…..Please note above, the 2015 NAEP results for Oklahoma and Massachusetts (not Massachussets) in BOTH Mathematics and Engllish/Language Arts as posted on the Nation's Report Card website.
Dr. Stotsky is a professor of great merit who has been responsible for creating the best English/Language Arts standards in the country (for numbers of years, with achievement levels for students at or above 40-50 proficient while Oklahoma languishes far behind with students at or above 24-30 proficient). Is there a reason Oklahoma would not want to listen to Dr. Stotsky's (and others) criticisms of our new standards (OAS) if we genuinely cared about the education of Oklahoma children?
In his message, General Baxter calls ROPE (a grassroots organization made up of Oklahoma taxpayers and citizens with a 1st Amendment right to free speech) a "radicalized splinter group". Is it appropriate for a state official to vilify members of the public he was appointed to serve?
It is troubling that the comment in quotes (meaning ROPE has specifically said those words) has come from a screenshot from a public post on my personal Facebook page taken by someone in the group Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education (this is obvious since the phone screenshot captured the search engine).
Please note, the comment is a personal comment, not a comment derived from the organization whose mission statement clearly says
Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment (who changed its name last year from Restore Oklahoma Public Education) is not FOR any specific kind of education - we are for parents and children. ROPE is for whatever type of education provides each child the education that best suits them. That would include public education. What educator or education official wouldn't want what's best for the student?
Though I (Jenni White) am the Education Director for ROPE, I am entitled to my own opinions and comments separate of the organization with which I am affiliated. This is accepted practice as individuals working for/with organizations/groups are entitled to their own 1st Amendment right of free speech outside of those professed by the organization with which they may be affiliated.
In closing, the three questions posed in this blog need deep consideration. Is the child/student of ultimate importance, or is a system of government education more important to the children/students of the state?