Janet Just Moved Up!

It has been simultaneously entertaining and frightening to observe Janet Barresi’s steady and methodical rise through the various levels of the “Screw Loose Change Nut Bar-O-Meter.”

Based on her recent trajectory, I really believe Janet has a chance to make it all the way to the top in the three months she has remaining in office.

If her performance at yesterday’s state board meeting wasn’t enough, Janet provided strong evidence of her delusional state of mind during an interview with Pat Campbell and Eddie Huff on Tulsa’s KFAQ radio station this morning.

For the most part, Pat has been a strong supporter of Dr. Barresi over the years. However, this morning I’ll give him credit for going straight to the chase and confronting her on some of the questionable events surrounding from the past week.

The 23-minute audio file of the interview can be accessed HERE.

If you missed the interview, allow me to give you a sample of several comments that clearly show Janet is either stunningly disingenuous or losing touch with reality.

First, in response to a question from Pat about the recent calls for her resignation, Janet had this to share:

00:45 Anytime you bring truth to a situation, anytime you focus on children and (inaudible) for children, and you stop trying to make adults happy, and just focus on kids, you’re always going to get backlash. That’s what’s been happening for the past four years. I am now able to make sure that I continue to focus on that. I said, up until the end I will serve children every single day. Everybody thought I’d go hit the golf course early and phone it in for the rest of the time. And I said “no.” I was elected to do something and to do it well, and I’ll continue to serve the taxpayers, the voters, but first of all to the children of Oklahoma.

Okay, so the real reason we have been lining up to oppose Janet’s leadership and policy decisions for the past few years is because she likes kids too damn much. I am sure the thousands of eight- and nine-year-olds who are getting to repeat third grade would agree with her on this, particularly those struggling with language deficiencies, dysfunctional homes, and special needs. Not to mention the young adults who have been unable to earn a high school diploma because of her unyielding and dispassionate enforcement of the ACE graduation requirements. As we know, kids do love to take high-stakes tests, especially when administered by incompetent testing vendors. I think I hear kids screaming in unison, “pleeease stop helping us!!”

The next ten minutes of the interview was spent allowing Janet to explain why the state department was recommending awarding a $2.8 million contract to CTB/McGraw-Hill, a company we fired two months ago for incompetency, to administer this winter’s EOI assessments. Janet made it clear that she did not need board approval to do this but was just trying to be transparent. If Janet feels that this is the best thing to do “for kids” she ought to just do it. She was hoping to pass the buck and, to their credit, the board didn’t bite.

Obviously, there was also a discussion surrounding Barresi’s controversial decision to hire Dr. Larry Birney to her newly created position of assistant superintendent of accreditation and compliance. Listen to how Janet explains her thinking on this action:

16:25 We had previously tried to bring him (Dr. Birney) on as a regional accreditation officer and those folks just blew up over it. They wanted one of the good old boy system. Most of them are retired superintendents and I was very unhappy with what they were doing. I believe that in different cases I asked them to take a look at, that quite frankly tipped the district off and all of a sudden any kind of evidence of anything suddenly disappeared. We’ve had a couple of particular allegations come up and I said I can’t leave office and sweep this under the rug because I knew my successor whoever that was would sweep it under the rug.

Well played, Janet. In less than 45 seconds, you were able to denigrate your entire accreditation staff by labeling them as “good old boy” former superintendents that lack integrity by helping districts break the law. You then proceed to paint both of your potential successors, John Cox and Joy Hofmeister, as unethical and dishonest by implying either one of them would sweep potential criminal allegations under the rug. Classy! Surely, the fact that Birney wasn’t hired earlier had nothing to do with his complete and utter lack of qualifications for the job. This clearly rises above “paranoid” and “raving” and elevates you to the “delusional” ranking.

Apparently, Dr. Barresi is also suffering from a loss of short-term memory. Here is what she said about the claim of some that she will use this new position to “go after her enemies:”

18:15 I don’t have grudges against people. If I did, I could have done what my predecessor did, and just keep threatening people. I’ve never done that. Never done that. It’s just remarkable, if you haven’t done anything wrong, what are you worried about?

Uh, Janet, did you forget about a certain middle school principal you threatened with his certificate because parents at his school chose to opt their children out of field tests in 2013? How about advising a group of educators a few months ago to tell anyone who opposed your standards writing process they “could go to hell.” Calling a board member a “son of a bitch” might be perceived as threatening as well. But, you weren’t done talking about General Baxter.

23:28 He (Baxter) can say what he wants about me. My concern and my upset, he can say what he wants about me but on occasion he gets like a bully with my employees and I reject that. It’s unprofessional and uncalled for. Those people are underpaid and grossly overworked and that’s where I draw the line. Nobody owes me an apology but they sure owe my employees an apology.

Seriously, you are calling someone else a bully? Wow, kettle meet black, black meet kettle. Then, to even insinuate that anyone owes you an apology borders on lunacy. The board is in place to ask hard questions and keep people accountable. You seem to like accountability when it comes to almost anyone else, but are offended when a board member respectfully points out obvious problems with one of your staff member’s proposals?

I also know several of your employees personally and they cannot wait until you leave. If someone is not in your “circle of trust” they are essentially discredited. Your administration has been marked by blatant bullying and cronyism since day one.

Joe Dorman, Democratic candidate for Governor, today joined the chorus to ask for your immediate resignation. Your friend, Governor Mary Fallin, has been oddly silent. Where are you, Mary? You are either for Barresi or not. We would like to know.

Janet, even if the Governor stays quiet, the calls for your resignation are only going to get louder. However, I suspect it may be difficult for you to discern at this point whether the voices are coming from real people or all those little people in your head. If you get there, congratulations! You will have reached the highest level.

Thanks to Angela Little for this great image she shared earlier on Twitter!

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