Janet Barresi and remarkable Harding High

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The other day the following post by a Facebook friend who is a former Democrat legislator:

So, we have a repuke who opened 2 private schools running for superintendant of public education. Anyone see something odd about that?

Repuke? Oh, nice, as Onslow says.

The attempted slam (which failed for inaccuracy) was aimed at Janet Barresi, a Republican running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Barresi helped to open two charter schools, which are not private, but public, funded with public funds and under the sponsorship of a public agency, usually the local public school district.

When I pointed this out, the response was that charter schools "can be set up in such a way so that it denies equal opportunity."

How so? At Harding Charter Prep School (one of the schools that Janet Barresi helped to start) 77% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and nearly half of the student body is African-American (24%), Hispanic (11%), or Native American (6%). The numbers are about the same at Independence Charter Middle School (the other school Barresi helped found, and the first charter school in Oklahoma). And over 90% of the graduating class is headed to college. It looks to me like Janet Barresi has been helping to create opportunity for Oklahoma City students. We should want more of that, shouldn't we?

According to Newsweek, which ranked Harding Charter Prep 69th among the top high schools for 2010: "There are no requirements as to which students can attend; it is a public school. There are no tuition fees. No entry test is required, nor interview or audition."

From a Janet Barresi press release about the Newsweek ranking:

"When we founded Harding, the naysayers claimed low-income students could not handle the rigor of a college preparatory curriculum," said Barresi, a Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. "After seven years of operation, it's clear the critics were wrong and the Newsweek ranking is further proof of that fact. I believe we can now take the lessons learned at Harding and apply them to all Oklahoma schools to benefit every child in the state. My mission is to make every local public school so successful that it is parents' first and best choice for their children."...

"Harding's success is not based on cherry picking students, but is the result of successful teaching strategies that can be employed anywhere," Barresi said. "When you set high expectations, children will rise to the challenge - my experience with Harding proves it. I am very proud of Harding's students, but I believe all Oklahoma children are capable of similar achievement. My goal as state superintendent will be to raise the performance of all Oklahoma schools."

(I think it's wonderful that the charter school uses a historic school building and the school's historic name, connecting present-day students with a legacy that spans over 80 years.)

I'm excited about having Janet Barresi's vision, drive, and experience at work to improve education for all Oklahoma children. I hope you'll join me in voting for her for State Superintendent in Tuesday's Republican primary and again in the November general election.

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3 Comments

Wow, the former Democratic legislator managed to pack an ad hominem attack, a factual error, and a misspelled word into one sentence. Impressive.

As for the question ("Anyone see something odd about that?"), the answer is: No, nothing at all. Because the likes of Janet Barresi -- not to mention Deborah Brown, Andy Shapleigh, and the homeschool mom down the street -- are MORE committed to public education than the former Democratic legislator.

See: http://okschoolchoice.blogspot.com/2009/03/whos-committed-to-educated-public.html

CGHill Author Profile Page said:

If the Democrat in question can't spell "superintendent," then we should be grateful for "former."

sballin said:

How many Special Education students if any attend both charter schools?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 21, 2010 8:39 PM.

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