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Candidate accuses Oklahoma governor of bullying teachers

A Democratic candidate for state schools superintendent accused Gov. Mary Fallin of attempting to bully and intimidate teachers and superintendents into keeping quiet about their objections to the A-F system for grading schools.
by Randy Ellis Published: November 6, 2013
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A Democratic candidate for state schools superintendent Tuesday accused Gov. Mary Fallin of attempting to bully and intimidate teachers and superintendents into keeping quiet about their objections to the state's A-F system for grading schools.

Fallin threatened educators that if they continued to publicly criticize the grading system, they would face reductions in funding next year, candidate Ivan Holmes said in a news release.

“This is unheard of in a democratic society where you have a governor of a state tell educators to shut up and go away or lose the funding necessary to educate our kids. Governor Fallin is attempting to blackmail, harass, intimidate and threaten our educators over their dissatisfaction with the current A-F grading system,” Holmes said.

Fallin's office issued its own news release Tuesday denying that statements made in Fallin's behalf by gubernatorial spokesman Alex Weintz were a threat to educators.

“Governor Fallin has not and will not threaten funding for schools based on opposition to the A-F grading system,” Weintz said in the latest news release. “She is asking that groups representing superintendents reconsider their endorsement of a report that argues that education cannot make a significant impact on student performance.”

Weintz said the governor disagreed with some of the findings in an OU/OSU report that concluded nonschool factors such as poverty have a greater impact on test scores than the teaching that occurs in classrooms.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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