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The Shawnee News-Star
  • McPeak calls Baresi spin doctor

  •  “We knew Supt. Barresi would “spin it.” She has become the Doctor of Spin. That’s what she and the Department of Education have become famous for this year. They remind me of Fonzie on Happy Days.  They just can’t say they are “Wr Wr Wr WR…yes, the word is wrong.”


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  •  “We knew Supt. Barresi would “spin it.” She has become the Doctor of Spin. That’s what she and the Department of Education have become famous for this year. They remind me of Fonzie on Happy Days.  They just can’t say they are “Wr Wr Wr WR…yes, the word is wrong.” That was State Rep. Jerry McPeak’s take on the Department of Education’s response to the press conference held at the Capitol.
    Damon Gardenhire, State Department of Education spokesperson said, “Families haven’t exhausted all of their options.” McPeak responds, “That statement alone proves that Supt. Barresi and her crew don’t get it.” Jana Purcell, a Sand Springs alternative education teacher and mother of a child struggling with passing EOI’s, stated that most of the students who struggle with passing EOI’s don’t come from traditional families.
     McPeak adds, “Besides, the real point is Supt. Barresi and the State Board of Education are ignoring the law passed requiring them to listen to appeals by every child who asks for one.”  He goes on to say, “The approach of Supt. Barresi is deceptive and reminds him of the “rope a dope” act of Muhammad Ali. Now you see it; now you don’t.”
    School superintendents maintain that what the Department of Education considers alternatives are not realistic and are a smokescreen to avoid hearing student appeals.  McPeak continues that even convicted felons get an appeal.  “Why do we treat the children of Oklahoma with less dignity and respect?  Why are Supt. Barresi and her dictatorship leaders so bent on punishing this year’s seniors?  There is simply too much overblown ego in the SDE to admit they are wrong.  Depriving over 2000 children in Oklahoma of a diploma they earned is just mean – and it’s wrong.”
    Joel Robison, chief of staff for the State Dept. of Ed, said recently the EOI testing is there so all seniors pass the same level of requirements.  McPeak responded, “That cliché is part of the problem. Why do we continue to try to make every student fit into the exact same cookie cutter mold?  These kids are not the same - from home environment to their goals.  Is there anyone who really believes the welder, optometrist, and school teacher should have the same requirements?”
     Rep. Mike Shelton (D-OKC) points out that the SDE did not tell the truth about the $4 million they said they paid to Tulsa Public Schools and this week had to admit they really had not made that payment. “Do you see a trend here? They are doing it with the appeal recently passed in House Bill 2970 and signed into law by Governor Fallin. People will eventually figure it out, but between now and then, she will ruin the lives of hundreds of Oklahoma children.”
    Page 2 of 2 - McPeak and Rep. Fred Jordan (R-Tulsa) offered the Freedom to Succeed Act (HB 2755) early in this year’s session and still maintain this bill would have avoided this entire fiasco. When asked about the bill, McPeak said, “Yes, this would have been the cure. Now that I’ve seen how Supt. Barresi works at avoiding the intent of the law, she probably would have tried to dodge that one too.”
    McPeak adds, “If Supt. Barresi thinks I am going away, then that’s just another mistake she has made.  The real professionals, the public school teachers and administrators of Oklahoma, as well as concerned parents sincerely care, and none of us will quit until the right thing is done for these kids.”

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