Why I Hope for Joy!


I gather that most of us are looking forward to the end of this particularly long and tumultuous election season. This is especially true for the highly contested offices for Governor and State Superintendent for Public Instruction.

While the past few years have provided lots of fodder for education bloggers in our state, it has not been a positive four years for Oklahoma’s students, teachers, and schools.

Whoever wins the post for State Superintendent for the next four years will have an enormously challenging job on his or her hands. With Governor Fallin’s support and consent, Janet Barresi has completely run the OKSDE train off the rails and into a deep ravine. The cleanup will be extensive.

Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in the percent decrease (23%) in per-pupil funding for Oklahoma common education since 2008. And while the 2014 state budget was the largest in Oklahoma history, the percent allocated to common education (33.8%) was the lowest percentage since 1991. Educators have not seen a state increase in teacher salaries for ten years. Even slight increases in compensation at the district level have been offset by concomitant increases in health and dental premiums, meaning that many teachers are actually making less money now than they were five years ago.

Soon after Superintendent Barresi assumed office in early 2011, it became obvious that she had absolutely no interest in working with school administrators and teachers to improve public education in our state.

Janet’s nihilistic ideology was predicated on the false premise that our schools were failing and that educators were not adequately motivated to do anything about it. She spoke disparagingly about teachers and the organization which represents them, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA). My previous district superintendent was accurate in referring to her as the State Superintendent of Private Education, as her clear motive from the start was to plant the seeds for expansion of charter schools and vouchers in Oklahoma.

In response to a critical report card for her from the OEA last November, Janet provided this angry and revealing response:

“I’ll be damned if I am going to let the union, or anybody else in the education establishment lose another generation of Oklahoma’s children. These are individuals who are opposed to accountability. These are individuals who are focused on maintaining their power base in the state of Oklahoma. This is part of the education establishment. They’re not focused on students, they’re focused on adults.”

One of the primary purposes of my blog and others has been to hopefully counter the distorted and damaging rhetoric and policy coming out of the Oliver Hodge Building over the past few years.

One thing we can all be thankful for this Tuesday is that the name ‘Janet Costello Barresi’ will be nowhere to be found. We owe this fact to Republican candidate for State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister.

In 2013, many educators, legislators, parents, and business leaders began the search for a candidate to challenge Janet Barresi in the Republican primary. I was very excited and optimistic when I heard that Joy had accepted the challenge. She did not seek this opportunity; she was asked to do this on behalf of the children, parents, and educators of Oklahoma. Joy agreed to put her family and her work on hold in order to take on a well-financed incumbent.

On June 24th, Joy survived an avalanche of negative ads paid for with Barresi’s own millions and won the primary. She did so convincingly, capturing all 77 Oklahoma counties and nearly 58% of the vote to only 20% for Barresi. That evening, thousands of us celebrated. I danced to the Pharrell William’s Happy Song on the beach in Florida. I’m still dancing!

Like many others, I have supported Joy since she first announced her intention to run. I continue to support her today because I believe she is the best candidate to lead our state department and effectively advocate for the best interests of Oklahoma’s public schools.

A former public school teacher and businesswoman, Joy Hofmeister has devoted her life to teaching students and promoting higher student achievement. She has spent the past 15 years operating Kumon Math & Reading Centers which works through parent partnerships to ensure higher academic achievement for children. Leading a staff of 40, Joy serves 750 students from public, private, charter and home schools. Joy’s students continue to rank in the top 1% of student achievement within Kumon’s 2000+ centers in North America.  Joy served as an officer for the Jenks Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors, the Select Committee for the Study of School Finance, and various other committees within the Jenks Public School District, as well as other civic and professional committees.

Let me also say that I have nothing negative to say about Joy’s Democratic challenger, Dr. John Cox. I understand why many of my fellow educators will be voting for John this Tuesday. Though I do not know him well, I have met him on several occasions and can say he seems like a genuinely likeable guy. He is a respected educator and successful superintendent with nearly thirty years of experience. I also concur with many of his positions relative to the over testing of our children, the restoration of local control, the dumping of our current state A-F report card, and pay increases for our hard-working educators.

That said, these are all positions that Joy has advocated for as well and, I believe, possesses a greater capacity with which to gain traction to actually make these things happen.

I trust Joy. She is smart, competent, hardworking, and tenacious. It became obvious soon after her appointment to the state school board in January 2012 that Joy was there to fight on our behalf and not merely serve as a minion for Barresi or Mary Fallin.

There are numerous examples in the public record of Joy taking on Barresi and her policies. If you would like to see specific evidence, read through the minutes of the March 2012 Board Minutes. In this meeting, Joy presented herself as knowledgeable and well-researched. She asked tough questions and did not back down when Barresi countered. During this particular meeting, Joy was one of two dissenting votes on the new OKSDE rules for A-F.

Throughout her 15 months on the state school board, Joy presented a tough, yet polished and conciliatory tone that serves as evidence of her desire for real solutions, not just discourse for the sake of debate. Joy is not opposed to reforms. Rather, she supports school improvement efforts that are homegrown and involve the active participation of those whom the reforms will impact. Joy possesses the ability to listen to others and inspire others to work together.

I also know first-hand that Joy was proactive in seeking the thoughts and opinions of people outside of the state department in reaching her positions. She called on district superintendents, key legislators, school teachers, business owners, and university leaders to help craft policies that supported accountability while affording appropriate levels of local autonomy.

Before the Primary Election, Joy earned the endorsement of 45 State Senate and State House members. More than half serve in leadership positions and 11 serve on House and Senate Education Committees. Joy is committed to building on those relationships to better advocate for Oklahoma students with our legislature. More recently, she had secured the endorsements of former Democratic State Superintendent Sandy Garrett and two former Secretaries of Education, Phyllis Hudecki and Floyd Coppedge.

As Sandy Garrett stated in her endorsement:

“Joy will be a superintendent for teachers. I believe teachers need and advocate at this critical time in our state’s history as we are witnessing an exodus of educators from our profession…we also need a leader who can collaborate at the state Capitol to achieve our goals. Joy has demonstrated an ability to build coalitions, and that is desperately needed if we are to put a renewed focus on education in Oklahoma. Our next state superintendent has to be effective.”

Our next state superintendent has to be effective. 

This is the biggest reason why I am placing my hope in Joy. She is fully aware of what she is up against and is committed to getting the job done. Her relationships with current state legislative leaders, government officials, teachers, school superintendents, and business owners make her uniquely qualified to build consensus and make genuine progress on cleaning up the mess left by Janet Barresi.

I am a pragmatist. While I agree with my friend at okeducationtruths and will also be casting a vote for Joe Dorman this Tuesday (my first time ever voting for a Democratic Governor), Joe’s chances of pulling the upset are not strong. If Fallin wins reelection, she will retain control over the composition of the state Board of Education and the Secretary of Education. We will be left with a super majority Republican House and Senate.

Our current scenario is eerily similar to what transpired in another dark red state two years ago.

In Indiana in 2012, Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, did the unthinkable by pulling a stunning upset over Republican schools boss Tony Bennett. Like Barresi, Bennett had attacked teacher unions and funneled education money into charter schools that essentially are owned and run by Republicans.

Ritz actually earned more votes than Republican Governor Mike Pence in his own reelection campaign. The Indiana Legislature also retained strong Republican majorities in both houses.

Glenda was elected based on a groundswell of public dissatisfaction with the manner in which school reforms had been pushed by Pence and Bennett in the previous four years. Bennett was a former Jeb Bush Chief for Change, along with our very own Janet Barresi.  Barresi sings from the same hymnal as these reformers and has mirrored her reforms (A-F, third grade retention, etc.) on similar changes in Indiana and Florida.

As with supporters of John Cox, citizens In Indiana thought that by electing Ritz that they would be able to stem the growth of charter schools and other reforms harmful to public education in their state. As the former head of the Indiana Teacher’s Association, educators believed that Ritz had the political savvy and strength to battle the reformers head-to-head and turn things around.

They were wrong.

Soon after the election, Governor Pence began working immediately with Republican leaders in the Indiana House and Senate to marginalize Ritz’s influence over education policy. Since the election in 2012, Pence has systematically stripped away the powers of the Office of State Commissioner of Education and transferred them to the State Board of Education, which he controls.

In August, 2012 Pence created an entirely new layer of bureaucracy, the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI). The role of the new CECI is to provide support staff to the State Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor.

In other words, in one executive action, Governor Pence stripped Glenda Ritz of any direct control over the State Board. The CECI now reports directly to Pence and Republican legislative leaders. It employs 15 staff members, six of whom are paid over $100,000 a year, ostensibly to make life difficult for Ritz. Additionally, the legislature is currently working to strip additional powers from Ritz by taking away her title as chair and reapportioning the authority to the board as a whole.

In summary, the playbook has already been written on how to handle attempts by the citizens to take back the voice of public education. If John wins this election and pushes hard against the current Republican leadership, they will push back.

Like their contemporaries in Indiana, Governor Fallin and her allies in the legislature will move quickly to stack the Board of Education and stifle any attempts of John to roll back their reforms. Fallin and the legislature can add responsibilities to an existing state agency such as the State Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. In essence, Fallin and her Republican brethren in the Legislature can simply paint John Cox in a box and marginalize his potential impact.

Can the same thing happen if Joy Hofmeister is elected? I suppose it could, but I honestly believe that Joy possesses the knowledge, skills and personality to foster the type of working relationships necessary to move her agenda forward. Her agenda is one that the schools in Oklahoma desperately need to be successful.

My hope is that you will join me and support Joy Hofmeister for State Superintendent.

We cannot afford four more years of internal fighting and unproductive discourse.

On that note, I want to close with some wonderful thoughts from my fellow blogger Claudia Swisher. Claudia is the author of Fourth Generation Blogspot. A few days ago, she posted this excellent blog entitled,” One Week, Then the Hard Work Begins.”

As Claudia deftly articulates:

“Next Wednesday, new alliances must be forged, new plans must be made. After being fiercely supportive of one or another candidate, we must come together and move forward…together. For our kids. We must remember our ultimate goal is a robust public education for every child in our state, and we deserve to be part of the discussion, part of the solution.

Can we do it? We must. Our kids desperately need all the grownups in their lives to forge a new path together. We need to put differences aside. We need to reach out to our new office holders and offer to help, to be there, to work for Oklahoma kids, for #oklaed.

We must be able to say to our policy makers, “I voted; now I’m here to work. I want to forge policies, to ask important questions. To put a face on education reform in Oklahoma. I’m not going away. I will hold you accountable.” That’s why we voted.

Next Wednesday. One week. We will have had our say, and it will be time to step up and do the work.”

The work has just begun. I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming months and years to take back public education in our state. Please vote and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

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33 thoughts on “Why I Hope for Joy!

  1. This is from Mrs. Hofmeister’s website:

    “Oklahoma offers many options whether that be charter schools, magnet schools, district transfers, school transfers, virtual online schools, blended learning courses, special education vouchers, and traditional classrooms within neighborhood schools. Joy is committed to informed choices, and equipping parents to act on evidence, not perception or anecdote. She will advocate for transparency and reliable accountability, so that parents can make informed decisions when placing a student in schools receiving state taxpayer dollars.”

    Again, this seems to be an endorsement of the kind of reforms that you and Diane Ravitch oppose. Have you discussed school choice with her?

  2. Vote for Joy because she’s the same party as the tea party ninnies in the legislature. Now that’s a lame @%% platform isn’t it? Work with them? they ned to be slapped upside the head to knock out soem of the ignorance. Listening to Joy in the debates leaves an impression of an unqualified air head. This blogger must have some profiteering off education aspirations.

  3. Casey, thx for making up my mind, have been open to considering Cox. Not sure how many people read this blog but appreciate ur ability to sway votes. Not… Voting on Tuesday for Joy. Going to attack me now too?

  4. I voted for Joy for the reasons you articulated in your post…the degree to which my reasons matched yours is actually kind of scary. I know, from experience, that Joy listens. She honestly wants to hear from the folks who do the job, whether as a teacher, administrator, program director, whatever. She stood up and said No when it wasn’t popular in her party, especially when the Board started denying diplomas to students on the basis of test scores alone. She works well with people across the political spectrum, and she showed great courage in running against an incumbent in her own party. (People forget so easily…a short time ago, it was assumed that Barresi would breeze through her election. Joy put herself on the line.) But mostly, she has the best chance to start digging our way out of the mess we are in, and perhaps to get real increases in education funding. Like you, I have watched the situation in Indiana unfold – the legislature has thwarted the will of the voters and gone around the elected superintendent. We can’t afford another 4 years of mounting problems and territorial fights — we need someone who can bring people together to forge solutions. I like Dr. Cox, agree with him on most issues, and wish him the best, but I think Joy is the best person to really make things happen.

  5. Rob, thanks for your post. It’s positive and well-reasoned. I’ll be voting for Joy, but not without reservation.

    I had the chance to see her a couple of weeks ago in my district when she debated John Cox, and I came away more impressed with her than I was with him. I was not thrilled when she made her remarks supportive of Mary Fallin. I know appearing with the ticket is part of politics, but it’s not my favorite part. Still, her record while serving on the State Board of Education speaks volumes about what she really believes. She questioned Barresi from the beginning and probably helped open the eyes of other SBE members. In addition to her vote against the A-F Rules at the March 2012 meeting, she also voted against the party line regarding ACE Waivers for students during the ensuing months. In her 15 months on the Board, she never backed down to Barresi or went along with the party line.

    I’m not saying I’ll agree with everything she does. Surely I won’t. Same goes if Cox wins, and I’m perfectly comfortable with that too. I just have more confidence in Joy at this point.

    • I appreciate your response, Rick. I wish others were as reasonable with their comments. Trust me, Joy knows where I stand as well. I will not hesitate to provide critique if I feel it is warranted. We must hold all of all elected leaders accountable!

  6. As a Jenks mom, grad and public school teacher, I am so disappointed yet not surprised by your CYA endorsement of Mrs. Hofmeister. I would imagine this was somewhat of a conflict of interest as well, Joys’ admirable work on the JFB would carry some implication that all of Jenks employees should endorse her. I also understand as a young (although you were teaching math when I was in 8th grade) ambitious administrator you are careful not to pick TOO much of a side. I know that helping Joy from the start, while she was still on the state board to get rid of Baressi- you can hardly abandon her now. And you also didn’t imagine there would be a candidate like Dr. Cox running. It’s insulting though, when you pretend like they are both great candidates and there isn’t that much difference between them. There are MAJOR differences. But my opinion is, I KNOW you know Hofmeister isn’t qualified, she will continue the disastrous for-profit reforms, and over testing. So, all your ranting and raving the last few years what was that? Self promotion? Self preservation? You needed the public to know when The Dentist was after you. Because this blog has never been in line with what Hofmeister represents. And there are more than a few parents who will not forget who was a real friend to public education during our chance to make real changes to public education in Oklahoma.

    • I am frankly disappointed in your response, Casey. I posted an even-handed and reasonable endorsement for a person who I believe will do a great job. I did not disparage John in any way and will actively support him if he wins.

      If you knew me, I don’t play the CYA game. I have always been a risk taker and willing to put my career on the line for what I believe is right. You don’t know my history or you would not make this accusation. While I appreciate being called a younger administrator, I’m not sure a 53 yo principal with 13 years as an administrator fits that description.

      You imply that I have spent about 1000 hours of time over the past year for self-promotion. Really?!? I have a great job already and blogging pays not a dime. I do this as a way of advocating for Oklahoma public schools, teachers, and students. I don’t need the props. What have you done to help educate Oklahoma voters over the past year?

      If you support John, good for you. I get it. Just say so and give your rationale without being petty. It’s not endearing.

      • I’m not looking for endearment, nor am I looking for you to change your endorsement. I just want you to know how disappointing this is coming from my old math teacher. As a 7th grade teacher, I live it everyday too. Just calling you out because I think it’s a conflict of interest. And if there is any advancement in your career I will be doubly cautious.

        • So help me understand. If I somehow move to another position in education, this will somehow be evidence that I was being disingenuous with my endorsement? Casey, I will tolerate most respectfully submitted criticism. But, please do not question my character. Believe it or not, I do what I do because I feel strongly about public education. I write entirely on my own time. I make no money from my blog. I have been offered no advancement as a result of my work. I spent ten years in the Marine Corps fighting to protect the rights of all Americans. I have a right to my opinion and so do you. I am not trying to engage you in an argument–just trying to help you see that you are being offensive with your comments. By the way, I never taught math so I’m not sure your memory is accurate.

          • Although I disagree with Casey about your motives, I understand her frustration. Mrs. Hofmeister is cooperating with Governor Fallin. She has made that clear. I realize that she might have to say that to get elected, and that you believe that she will not cooperate with reformers after the election, but many of us in education are not as trusting. She has come out for continuing the A-F report cards regardless of the federal mandate. She wants to “mend them, not end them”. She does not pass the duck test on for-profit reform. She consistently talks like a reformer, which is why so many educators are puzzled by your endorsement.

            Skip to 3:14

            If some are offensive with their criticism of you, it comes from that confusion. I can understand why a Fallin supporter would vote for Hofmeister, but not a public education warrior like yourself. I hope Dr. Cox uses you as an asset as State Superintendent.

  7. I know I have heard John discuss rewriting the ESEA waiver. What will this take?

    Also, I like his approach to accountability as to changing the entire A-F into a more accurate reflection of a public school. For example, one single letter does not tell a story. Would it not be better to have a “report card” with several areas of evaluation? Math, science, liberal arts opportunities, student leadership opportunities, teacher professional development, etc? This is his approach to the “accountability” requirement. I feel it is a more meaningful & realistic approach versus just spending the next 8 years slowly changing the formula for the single letter system. The theory of simplicity behind this system was good, but it is not able to be translated into reality due to too many extraneous variables.

    • I agree 100%. The report card should include multiple measures of school performance and not just test results. The OU/OSU research team could help develop this type of system. Joy also supports a multiple measure approach.

  8. Rob, although I always agree with your insight, I have a great concern when it comes to Joy because she was so fast to jump on the Anti-CCSS bandwagon. The fact that it was simply a political move tells me she has the capacity to switch to political mode whenever it suits her. We need someone who will stand up to Mary Fallin, not join in simply because it is what people want to hear. No one considered the time and money already spent by districts across the state to prepare teachers for CCSS, nor did anyone consider the financial investments made in instructional and other materials – including Joy. I am a hard-core democrat but planned to give her my vote, until she made that decision. Now I am very concerned that she will be another puppet for Fallin.

  9. I cannot with good conscience vote for Joy. She has many of the same ideas as Breezy, but says they can be implemented without bully tactics. She also stands too Closely with Fallin on VAMs, SLOs, A-F, testing, etcetera. A vote for Dr. John Cox is a vote for the future of education in Oklahoma. Otherwise, almost 75% of state superintendents wouldn’t support him.

    • Joy does not support the use of quantitative measures for the evaluation of teachers. Again, this is a requirement of Arne Duncan’s ESEA waiver. We can adjust our approach but if we decide to completely eliminate this measure, we will lose our state waiver (if we get it back) just like Washington state.

      It is important that we maintain realistic goals. The only way to move away from these mandates is to send back 300 million a year in federal dollars. We could do this by raising corporate taxes, impost higher taxes on the energy industry, and implement higher income/property taxes. We are not going to do this.

      The questions then become, “what can we do” and “who is most qualified to make it happen?” I personally believe this is Joy. Honestly, part of this is because of the R next to her name on the ballot. Speak with the Dems in the state legislature and ask them how productive they have been recently.

      • To me, working with the current R’s in the legislature just means that she will be doing the wrong things. You are an R and I respect your opinions on education, but I do not respect Fallin’s, and Joy is saying she does. I would rather have someone who fights for the right things, than someone who will just try to water down the wrong things. Again, Joy has said that she thinks school report cards are a good concept. She is not reluctant in supporting them as a concept. We need to dump the reform Kool-Aid, not just drink half of it. Again, thank you so much for what you are doing with this blog.

        • Thanks Brendan, we will not always agree…and that is the way democracy works. The key is we both want what is best for Oklahoma’s students and schools. Debate should be healthy and productive. As I said in my post, I understand why folks are supporting John. My dream would be to have Joe and Joy both win.

          • Thanks for the response. I live in your neck of the woods and would love to talk with you sometime. If I see you, I will introduce myself.

  10. I agree although I think a lot of John Cox I will also be voting for @ joy4ok. She was one of the first to stand against Breezy.

    • If she was so passionate about disagreeing with Baressi she should have stayed and fought for what she thought was right. She was appointed by Fallin & I think she will continue to support her. She is for charter schools. In the debates she didn’t answer the questions only gave her canned speech. Hope you don’t have to regret this vote like you did when you admitted you voted for Baressi. Sad state in OK when one party won’t work with the other but we continue to vote for them!

      • Just E, it would have been problematic for Joy to continue serving on the BOE after announcing her intention to run against Barresi. She did the right thing by resigning so she could devote her energy to removing Barresi from office.

        No one can predict the future. I simple know the kind of person Joy is and believe she is coming to this with pure motives and genuine concern for teachers and schools. I am not saying John is not a strong candidate. I am concerned that he will be marginalized and not be able to get his agenda implemented. We cannot afford four more years of stagnation.

        • Will Joy turn & run when she encounters other “problems” if she
          is elected? She was critical of Dr Cox campaigning while he was “on the job” but seems to have no problem with Fallin & other R incumbents doing the same. Seems strange to me to me that you are better at explaining what Joy is “all about” than she is!! She explained none of the “mandates” you mention. She should have used you as her debate coach!!

  11. First off, thank you for your well-thought out post and for not being ugly or nasty against either opponent.

    I find it very contradictory that you are supporting Joy when she supports VAM, TLE, expansion of vouchers & charters, and A-F. She consistently states (during debates) that these reforms just need to be “tweaked” a little. Having read your blog for nearly 2 years now, I have learned so much about these reforms directly from you and I know that you & I both feel like A-F cannot be “tweaked” enough. It is simply not going to be statistically reliable or valid with so many extraneous variables. I feel that Joy lacks the comprehensive knowledge necessary for this position. Her latest attack ads demonstrate her poor understanding of school finance, and during the many debates, it is obvious that she lacks the comprehensive understanding of school policy, operations, accountability, etc. Dr. John Cox knows public education inside & out. He has lived and breathed it every day for 29 years, 21 as a superintendent.

    Fallin has a good chance of winning re-election (though, not with any of my help), but the reason she “may” work with Joy better is simply because they both want to push the same harmful agendas that we have endured the past 4 years. These agendas are to continuing making public schools look bad & to privatize public education.

    I simply cannot let these continue. I do not want the love of learning tested out if my child by 1st grade. I want a leader that will always put PUBLIC schools first and will fight to reduce &/or eliminate high-stakes testing and one with a clear plan. Dr. Cox has been very clear & direct with his plans. Joy has bobbed and weaved her way through any and all questions, and keeps taking about her “8-year plan”, but never mentions what it is. John has said many times that he is excited to work with educators and subject matter experts in our state to rewrite the standards. Joy had consistently said she is excited to work with R legislators and in the last 3 debates discussed how we should look to other states for guidance. Haven’t we had enough of that? Barresi was so excited to do whatever Florida was doing. Has that been helpful? No.

    Collaborative leadership starts with Dr. Cox. Exclusive leadership with R lawmakers and collaboration with outside vendors continues with Joy.

    I hope I’m wrong about Mary.

    • Brooke, I always appreciate your well stated and respsectful comments. If all we look at is abbreviated responses at political debates, they don’t an accurate light on what Joy is really about. She is completely opposed to A-F. That said, all we CAN do is tweak it. Federal law requires that we have a accountability system that measures students achievement in multiple subgroups. To completely remove ourselves from the requirements of NCLB/ESEA waiver, we would have to refuse our federal education dollars. This would equate to about $300 million a year, or nearly 10% of our total education funding. Nebraska and Vermont are exempt from the federal guidelines because their citizens are willing to pay increased taxes for compensate for the loss of federal funds.

      I have met with Joy several times in the past few months. I can say that she genuinely listens and is very astute. I know she will surround herself with high quality managers and experts to help rebuild the SDE. I feel like I know who she is and what she represents. Has she run the campaign I would have run as her manager? Maybe not, but she is clearly in this for teachers and schools. I know this to be true!

      Thanks again, Brooke. Hoping the next four years is great for oklaed!

      • I have attended the last three debates, and Joy clearly said that she supports the report cards because we need “taxpayer accountability”. She did not say that she would do it reluctantly due to federal mandates. She supports the concept.

      • Brendan, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Again, the purpose of my post was to state my rationale for supporting Joy and NOT my reasons for not supporting John.

        While I agree with John on most of his positions, particularly his call for a moratorium of testing, I question his ability to follow through with his agenda, not because he’s not a competent administrator with passion, but because the Republicans won’t give him free reign.

        I included the Indiana parallel because I truly believe this is what will happen if John is elected. There are too many power brokers in our state legislature that will block almost everything he tries to do. With the super majority they enjoy, there is not much anyone can do to thwart their will.

        Joy has a chance. Not only because of her established contacts and political acumen, but because she comes to the table with solutions. Remember that most of what has happened in Ok over the past few years has been mandated by the feds. In order to comply with NCLB or the ESEA waiver, we must have an accountability system, a teacher eval system incorporating test results, and annual testing in reading and math. While there are a few tests we can cut, the rest are mandated. I would support replacing the EOIs with the ACT. Joy also supports this idea.

        Joy voted for virtual charters to stem the trend of small Oklahoma districts offering virtual school enrollments through their districts. This was a way of siphoning money without having to actually have students enrolled in physical classes. Again, the virtual school legislation was passed in the house and senate. The BOE simply had to approve the rules by which the OSDE would implement this law.

        In an odd twist, Joy is somewhat dependent on a good voter turnout for Fallin to help her win. As a result, she has to walk a fine line and not campaign against Fallin’s reforms. That said, I have spent several hours discussing issues with Joy. I know where she stands and am able to work with her to find solution. In short, I trust her when she says she will help to roll back as much of this mess as we can.

        If John wins, I will obviously support him as well. This is not partisan as this point. I am coming to this decision based on political pragmatism and my personal knowledge of what Joy Hofmeister represents.

        I am also not trying to change anyone’s researched opinion. This piece is targeted for those who might be on the fence and would benefit from hearing other perspectives, especially those who have advocated for public education.

        Thanks again for commenting. I look forward to moving forward from this divisive time in Oklahoma school history.

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