State Superintendent Reveals Major Part Of Oklahoma Education Reform

Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 9:12 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- New state Superintendent Janet Barresi announced a key component of what she says is her long-term education reform agenda, her 3Rs.

 "Oklahoma can be a leader in education if we are committed to new fundamentals for the 21st century," Barresi said.

Barresi calls the agenda the new 3Rs and said that stands for rethinking how education is delivered to students, restructuring the state Department of Education and reforming schools.

"I didn't get this job to be State Superintendent. I took this job to change children's lives, and I'm determined to do that," Barresi said.

She unveiled the details Tuesday during an event at a large airplane hangar operated by Aeronautical Radio Inc. -- commonly known as ARINC -- near Will Rogers World Airport. Barresi said some of her proposals -- such as a report-card system for schools and elimination of social promotion -- are going through the legislative process.

Barresi said she also plans to completely overhaul the way the State Department of Education tracks information, and to create more access to digital learning.

Another focus is to get Oklahoma students to enter the global competition by boosting achievement in things like science, math, technology and engineering.

"Oklahoma's kids are not competing with kids from Texas and Florida anymore. They're competing with Finland and Austria," Barresi said.

Barresi said she'd also like to institute a grading system on teachers as part of her 3R agenda. She said Tulsa is installing a teacher evaluation system that she is very interested in and said she would like to take that model statewide.

She hopes to implement some of these changes within the next 12 months.

Barresi's spokesman Damon Gardenhire said the backdrop for the announcement reflects Barresi's goal of ensuring that "work ready" and "college ready" mean the same thing.