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Local
Broken Arrow superintendent slams Barresi
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Broken Arrow superintendent slams Barresi

Broken Arrow superintendent slams Barresi
Courtesy: Broken Arrow Public Schools

Broken Arrow superintendent slams Barresi

Once again, the superintendent of a large school district has gone public to criticize the state's top educator, and this time he's calling for his peers to issue a vote of "no confidence."

However, Dr. Jarrod Mendenhall of Broken Arrow admits, he's not sure exactly how that process would work.

"Don't know how that would take place, don't even know if it's a possibility," he told KRMG. "But I do know that if I continued to do those kinds of things in my own community, it would be hard for me to stay around very long."

By "those kinds of things," Mendenhall is referring to a number of educational reforms and programs which State Superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi has implemented in the two years since she took office.

Many of those reforms, Mendenhall argues, have been pushed out to school districts with little or no discussion beforehand, and little or no support afterward.

"I'm okay with reforms, I really am," he said, "but reforms have got to be well thought out. We've got to have plans in place before we just push them out to school districts."

That, he says, hasn't happened under Barresi's leadership.

"Things are pushed out from the state department, and we've either never seen it or never had a chance to even talk about it."

Several other superintendents have discussed a litany of issues with Barresi and the State Department of Education.

The most recent flap revolved around an A-F grading system for rating schools' performance.

"I mean, they put out grades...and they've changed over ten times," he said. "You're trying to follow through on what your responsibilities are, and it's hard to do even that."

Dr. Mendenhall says he's written letters to both Dr. Barresi and to the State Board of Education, and received no reply at all from either.

Asked if he planned to contact Governor Mary Fallin directly, he admitted that might happen.

"Maybe that is our next step, to reach out to the Governor and see what we can do there."

And he stressed again that's he's not against reforming the educational system.

"I really believe that the reforms and the accountability -- there's nothing wrong with them. I just think that they have to be well thought out, they have to be articulated, and then when you push them out to schools, they have to work. They have to be something that's usable, and measurable, and really tells parents what they're supposed to do."

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