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Down on Quigley


Randall N. Briggs July 20th, 2011

I disagree with Joe Quigley’s critique (Letters, “Respecting teachers,” Oklahoma Gazette) of State Superintendent of Education Janet Barresi.

Quigley decries at great length Barresi’s lack of experience as a classroom teacher, saying that she therefore treats teachers with disrespect. He concludes with the assertion that “education in Oklahoma will continue to fail until administrators such as Barresi start respecting, talking to and consulting with the teachers.”

This is very odd. Quigley’s analysis implies that Barresi is typical of those who have held the office of superintendent, and is therefore continuing the failed policies that have dominated Oklahoma public education for so long.

In reality, Barresi proposes a dramatic break with past policies. Quigley accepts that past policies have failed, but then condemns the person attempting to reform the broken system. He blames the reformer for the failures of the longtime status quo.

It is obvious what Barresi’s sin is in the eyes of the educational establishment: She is an outsider, not a member of the school board-teachers’ union club, and she is a Republican. She challenges the failed system in which so many teachers and administrators are so comfortable; therefore, she must be destroyed.

It didn’t matter how much baloney former Superintendent Sandy Garrett dished out as the latest solutions to manifest failures — she was a member of the club and a Democrat. So she was fine, even as the public schools continued to fail the students and taxpayers of Oklahoma. Barresi is an affront to the status quo, so she must go.

—Randall N. Briggs
Tulsa

 
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