In a “cold day in Hell” moment, the Oklahoma House Democratic caucus is enthusiastically backing Republican state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi. Barresi is seeking nearly $300 million more for public schools this year. Last year she sought a $157 million increase that the Legislature ultimately rejected.
Democrats have made Barresi’s latest budget request part of their 2013 agenda, although they don’t explicitly acknowledge it, choosing to call the item “the State Board of Education’s request.” That’s likely because Democrats have made opposing Barresi and education reform a major emphasis and don’t want their base to realize agreement exists.
Barresi has rightfully shifted education policy to focus on results — student and school performance — not just appropriations, but acknowledges the need for funding.
If most Democrats emulated Barresi by supporting not only additional spending but also school improvement, then Oklahoma students would be better off.