State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi found out Friday what it's like to be on the receiving end of a failing grade.
And like the 163 schools statewide that received F's this week from the state Education Department, she was not too happy about the nod from the Oklahoma Education Association.
Barresi, responding to an online survey of nearly 4,000 teachers, parents and community members who gave her an F for her performance, rejected the designation as a “political stunt” by the “education establishment.”
“It's just a union tactic. These are individuals that are opposed to accountability. These are individuals that are focused on maintaining their power base in the state of Oklahoma,” Barresi said. “They are not focused on students; they are focused on adults. I am about improving education for the children of Oklahoma. We have lost too many kids.”
The 16-question survey evaluated Barresi in four categories: competency, funding, transparency and overall performance. She received F's across the board and received a 0.22 grade average from 2,026 educators, 800 parents and 1,158 community members, according to the association.
Association President Linda Hampton said the low scores reflect the “public's frustration” with Barresi over education funding, leadership, testing errors and the A-F grading system.
“I think the thing that we most wish she would improve is listening to teachers and focus on improving education instead of labeling and punishing students and teachers and school districts,” Hampton said. “I think we need collaboration, and we need the voice of the people that are in the classrooms and in the schools included in the process.”
The revised A-F system for grading schools has come under heavy criticism from educators statewide who contend the grades don't accurately reflect school, teacher and student performance.
“It's one test on one day,” Hampton said. “We need to focus on looking at the child's improvement from where they are at the beginning of the school year to where they end up at the end of the school year and look at everything that affects a child, not just one subject or two subjects or three.”
When asked what parents who saw media reports about her 0.22 grade-point average would say, Barresi smiled.
“I think those parents will probably take it about as seriously as I do,” she said.
“They understand it's a political stunt.”