Rick Cobb: Why we can’t let Walters win
Rick Cobb has worked in public education in Oklahoma since 1993. In a recent post at his blog, okeducationtruths, he explains why Ryan Walters should not be the state’s next secretary of education.
If you are a registered Republican who supports public education, you need to keep reading. In case you missed it, Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters took a break from filming car videos on Thursday to set foot in the building where he’d like to have an office for the next four years. He signed up to speak during the public participation portion of the State Board of Education meeting.
He used his three minutes to trash Tulsa Public Schools, calling on the SBE to review the accreditation of TPS, and to review their superintendent’s certification. He also took a couple of jabs at the person he wants to replace, Superintendent Hofmeister, who in turn wants to replace his boss, Governor Stitt.
The SBE was already scheduled to discuss the accreditation of TPS. After receiving a recommendation from State Department of Education officials to change the district’s accreditation to “accredited with deficiency,” they decided that they would go even further, all the way to “accredited with warning.” Watching from my office between meetings, it seemed to me that at least one SBE member would have been willing to go all the way to “accredited with probation.”
The difference between these designations matters. The fact that the SBE is willing to go rogue – and that some of the board members are willing to step all the way to the edge of non-accreditation – should alarm all of us.
All we really learned Thursday is that the governor’s chosen candidate for State Superintendent and most of his appointed SBE members want us all to be on notice. If we cross them, they will come after our districts. They will come after our certificates. They don’t even have to have evidence or give you a chance to defend yourself.
It was nothing less than a shot across the bow for all of us.