By March 17, 2014 Uncategorized 5 Comments

In a blog a few months ago, after Dr. Barresi’s infamous “I’ll be damned” speech, I made the comment that she had lowered herself and her elected position to a level “lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.” At the time, I also apologized to any snakes that may have been offended by my remark.

We have learned in the past week that there is no level too low for Janet. In fact, she has gone absolutely subterrestrial in a desperate effort to somehow fool enough voters to reelect her for another four years of tyranny.

First, you learned HERE that Janet is so intent on silencing the voice of parents who disagree with her policies that she is willing to manipulate a “random” testing protocol to avoid certain school districts. REALLY!?!

Then, in Friday’s post at okeducationtruths, we discovered that Janet also has no problem publicly disparaging her predecessor, Sandy Garrett…or state legislators…or educators in general while eating lunch in a local OKC restaurant.

Now she is wasting public resources in a ridiculous attempt to find some dirt on Joy Hofmeister, her rival in the June 24th Republican primary.

As reported by the Tulsa World’s Kim Archer this morning, Barresi directed her campaign manager, Sam Stone, to make an Open Records request for all correspondence and emails between Joy and all Jenks employees for the past seven years. Keep in mind that Ms. Hofmeister and her husband have had four children attend Jenks Public Schools; she has been an active parent and member of the Jenks School Foundation; and her business (Kumon) has provided tutoring services to hundreds of Jenks students over the years.

Oh no, they’re not looking for dirt, said Sam. Instead, he offered this comment as rationale for this witchhunt:”It’s part of doing our research on Joy. We’re trying to flesh out her positions on the issues.”

Hold on just a second, Sam. Let me get my trusty BS meter.

Yup, just as I thought, Sam. Sorry, the gauge doesn’t lie!

Keep in mind that Joy Hofmeister was appointed by Governor Fallin and served on the State School Board for sixteen months from January 2012 to April 2013. After the initial imbroglio between Dr. Barresi and the previous Board members soon after she assumed office in January 2011, do you think anyone would be selected for a position on HER board without thorough vetting? Additionally, Dr. Barresi must have numerous opportunities to decipher Joy’s policies on education during numerous board meetings, executive sessions and board retreats over this 16-month period.

Do you also find it troubling that Dr. Barresi is asking for the expenditure of public dollars (numerous hours of research and compiling emails by Jenks’ personnel) for a PERSONAL election campaign? This request has nothing to do with the operation of her department.

Moreover, why seven years? Any requests for records prior to Joy’s service on the state school board certainly seems to be outside of the scope of their stated purpose.

OKTruths was quick out of the gate this afternoon with this excellent post. In particular, please read and share this paragraph with all you know:

Hmm. Let me say that again. Anybody can make an open records request at any time. Say, for example, someone was curious about any correspondence between the Governor (or her staff) and Barresi (or the SDE) about how to protect the Common Core…such would be a reasonable inquiry. Or if you were curious about internal discussions of how the SDE should react to CTB’s complete meltdown last year during testing…that would be ok too. Even if you wanted to see how the Barresi’s inner circle discussed the relative merits of various A-F Report Card formulas with key legislators…they’d have to provide that information too. The possibilities are endless!

You see, part of serving the public is an ongoing commitment to transparency. It’s not bullying or intimidation to ask for answers – until someone does it to you.

Then it’s just karma.

Filing an open records request is very easy. I encourage you to give it a try. After the good dentist initiated a similar witchhunt against me last spring, I also filed an open records request on her and several key personnel within the SDE.

Karma, indeed!

If you are interested, all the information for filing a Oklahoma Open Records Request to the SDE or Dr. Barresi can be found HERE.

In addition to the great suggestions proffered above by my fellow blogger, OKTruths, here are a few more potential topics for a meaty Open Records Request:

1. Any and all emails and correspondence between Janet Barresi’s office and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), including emails to and from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, CEO Patricia Levesque, and Chief of Staff Kay Kammel. In particular, I would be curious to find out who paid for Superintendent Barresi, the State School Board, numerous department staffers and state legislators to travel to Boston last October for Jeb’s Foundation for FEE Summit (a.k.a. “The Boston Boondoggle“)

Here is a cute picture of Janet with her idol, ostensibly after Jeb had put back a few chardonnays.

2. It would also be interesting to read emails between Janet and Jeb (or his FEE organization) relative to our state’s A-F report card and third grade retention legislation.

3. How about this one? In addition to internal communications, what about all correspondence between our State Department and CTB/McGraw-Hill after last spring’s testing debacle? I bet there is some good stuff there.

4. While on the topic of testing, wouldn’t you like to see all the emails between the State Department and State Board from last November prior to the vote to award the new Grade 3-8 testing contract to “Company C,” which we later found out was Measured Progress?

5. Come to think of it, I would REALLY enjoy reading the recent emails between our SDE and Measured Progress which explained their request to exclude Jenks and Owasso from the item tryout testing sample.

6. Here is another timely request. How about our state’s new interim Director of Assessment, Wes Bruce? What do we know about him other than he worked for Tony Bennett in Indiana? How did our SDE hire him to a position that did not exist and was not Board approved? And why was he hired to an arrangement where he literally “phones it in” everyday via Skype. Something smells here and a good Open Records request might just reveal a few surprises.

I think that’s probably enough to get us started. We all just want to be informed voters and this information might allow us to flesh out Janet’s position on some of these issues.

Of course, the OSDE will likely place your request in the large pile with everyone else’s they have failed to complete over the past few years. In that case, you might have better luck contacting the State Department directly at (405) 521-3301. Leave a message that Superintendent Barresi should immediately withdraw this foolish request. If she truly wants to know Joy’s position on the issues, how about offering to debate her in multiple public forums in the three months prior to the primary election. This way, we could all figure it out together.

How about it, Dr. Barresi? Trust me, you cannot possibly hurt your popularity ratings. They are also subterrestrial.

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