Paranoia strikes deep among some Oklahoma school administrators

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: November 7, 2012

In 1964 Richard J. Hofstadter wrote “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” It noted how conspiracy theories had impacted American politics. Hofstadter said he used “paranoid style” because nothing else “adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.”

We wonder what Hofstadter would think of some Oklahoma school administrators' illogical musings.

Fort Gibson Superintendent Derald Glover recently suggested that state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi and the A-F school grading system were responsible for superintendents' resignations and retirements — although the resignations peaked several years before Barresi was elected. We hope his students have a better understanding of cause and effect than he apparently does. Stan Trout, principal of Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, implied the new A-F school grading system was part of a conspiracy to make income tax cuts possible by promoting vouchers and charter schools.

In the fever swamps these men apparently inhabit, education reform can't be designed to benefit students. There must be a sinister, secret reason. But these claims are nonsense. Neither Gov. Mary Fallin nor Barresi has promoted statewide vouchers; they've supported them only for children with special needs. And charter schools are public schools just like Charles Page High School (although charters don't get local property tax funding, in exchange for fewer regulations).

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