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Barresi campaign says rival would deprive Oklahoma children with special needs of education opportunities

In a television ad that aired Thursday, state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi’s campaign accuses Republican opponent Joy Hofmeister of conspiring with “education bureaucrats” to deprive children with special needs of learning opportunities.
by Tim Willert Modified: June 5, 2014 at 11:51 pm •  Published: June 5, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma state Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi speaks during the school board meeting on Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma state Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi speaks during the school board meeting on Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi’s campaign, in a television ad that aired Thursday, accuses Republican opponent Joy Hofmeister of conspiring with “education bureaucrats” to deprive children with special needs of learning opportunities.

Hofmeister is scheduled to particpate in a debate Friday morning in Norman. It is unclear whether Barresi will participate. Primary elections are June 24.

The ad, paid for by “Friends of Janet Barresi,” can be viewed on YouTube. It alleges that “Joy Hofmeister conspired with education bureaucrats who sued parents of special needs children.”

The source of the allegations, according to the ad, are Hofmeister statements made Nov. 20, 2012, March 8, 2013, and March 22, 2013.

Opponent responds

Hofmeister accused Barresi of taking comments and sentence fragments from emails out of context to make her political points.

Hofmeister called it “despicable to use a special needs child for political gain,” adding that Barresi is “more interested in confrontational politics than in improving schools and helping our kids to achieve excellence.”

“Janet Barresi has been a negative leader so we shouldn’t expect less,” Hofmeister said in a statement. “She’s trying to distract from the fact that she pushed Common Core onto our kids and now she’s frantically trying to hold onto power.”

In the ad, a woman identified as the mother of a developmentally disabled student says her son has “thrived” because of a scholarship, adding it “made the difference between his needs not being met and a child who believes he can go to college.”

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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