“I had zero involvement in the process from start to finish personally.” These were the words of Janet Barresi when interviewed about the recent end-of-year “high stakes” tests administered to thousands of students throughout Oklahoma. These comments would've been understandable and acceptable had they been made by a school custodian, a school bus driver or a school food service worker, but they weren't. They were uttered by the state schools superintendent.
The tests are called “high stakes” because the results affect so many people on so many levels. For students, the results determine their academic and personal futures, for teachers and administrators the results determine their professional and personal futures, and for individual schools the results determine their API scores and property values in the school's surrounding community. Additionally, for taxpayers the results determine the return on their investment in public education.
The whole process can be distilled down to one word: accountability. Barresi needs to learn the meaning and impact of that word quickly. Oklahomans, particularly the students, deserve a state schools superintendent personally involved in the process, from start to finish.
Larry DeMarchi, Norman