TULSA - A candidate to replace Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi in this year's elections says Barresi's directly to blame for the state's latest testing fiasco, despite the incumbent's statements pinning the responsibility on the testing company.
Joy Hofmeister will face Barresi in the June 24th primary.
She says the victims in the last two years of problems with state-mandated tests are the students.
"This kind of fiasco produces levels of stress that are in addition to what's already being experienced," she told KRMG Tuesday.
And she is adamant that it didn't have to happen this year.
"The responsibility falls in the lap of Janet Barresi. The decision was made to continue forward with this particular vendor, and that is -- certainly we can se now -- a big mistake."
Barresi spoke Monday after the state decided to suspend testing after thousands of students either couldn't log on or continually got booted off the online testing system.
She said CTB/McGraw-Hill, the testing company, had a major computer failure and had accepted full blame for the problems.
It was a different set of problems, Barresi said, than what happened last year when the system also experienced a catastrophic failure.
KRMG contacted the CTB corporate office in Monterey, California.
They indicated they would return our call shortly.
Meanwhile, Hofmeister says its time for Oklahoma to take a new direction that involves a lot more cooperation and communication than what she's seen during Barresi's tenure as State Superintendent.
"We have to have better communication where we are working with parents and our communities, and that has to be a priority not, again, justify 'reform happens because we pass a law.' No. That's not how we reform Oklahoma's education system. Reform happens when we do the hard work, rolling up our sleeves, gathering around the table and really making reform successfully implemented...we've got to have an advocate whose first loyalties are to the students within the state of Oklahoma, and that's what I do see as missing right now."