Local News

April 17, 2014

Republican candidates for state superintendent debate testing, funding for Oklahoma schools

CHICKASHA — The Republican candidates for state superintendent, incumbent Janet Barresi and Joy Hofmeister, discussed testing, the importance of district control over schools, and improving working conditions for teachers during an education forum Tuesday night.

The Grady County Republican Party hosted the forum at the Chickasha campus of the Canadian Valley Technology Center as part of their regular monthly meeting.

Grady County Republican Party Chairman Chuck Utsler said he was pleased with the turnout.

Barresi said she finds the people of Oklahoma are against common core standards, but will support the decision of the legislature.

"College and career-ready standards are important," she said. "As soon as legislation is complete and signed, we will continue with the will of the legislature…[and] incorporate people, parents and communities across the state."

Hofmeister said many Oklahomans are concerned about the amount of tests their students take, and, while high academic standards are good, it's important to take people's concerns into consideration when implementing those standards.

"Common core means different things to different people," she said. "People focus on testing and there's a great frustration with testing. It's about implementation…[and] valuing people and their thoughts and concerns…let's make this decision with collaboration."

There needs to be a standardized test that gives an accurate measure of how students across state lines are performing and curriculum and teaching methods should be adjusted accordingly, Hofmeister said.

It's important to set high expectations for Oklahoma's students, but ensure students can meet those expectations, she said.

Barresi said teachers, parents and community members should be brought together to review and re-work education standards.

The standards are extensively reviewed and the public has opportunity to voice their concerns before they go to the legislature and governor for approval, she said.

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