Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Editorial: Barresi Choice Is Even Clearer

Editorial, The Oklahoman ~ The last thing Oklahoma needs is a state schools superintendent who thinks money is the answer and that reform is a passing fancy. Yet it appears that's exactly what we might get if Susan Paddack is elected.

"I've been told on many occasions you can't throw more money at it," Paddack recently told a room of superintendents. "And I always think, 'Gosh, let's try, you might like what you get.' But I've always been a smart aleck."

And then there was this question she posed: "Are you not sick of the word 'reform?'"

Paddack, a Democrat, has a background that could make her well suited for the job — she's a former teacher, college instructor and has been an education advocate in the Legislature. But Oklahoma needs a state superintendent who isn't selling or buying the teachers union argument that money is the source of public school troubles.

Even if Paddack was simply pandering to a friendly audience, that's not the only reason for concern. She has refused to take an official stance on State Question 744, which would dramatically increase common education funding without a plan to improve student achievement.

If Paddack loses the superintendent race, she'll retain her seat in the state Senate. Voters deserve to know where she stands, as a candidate and as a senator, on this major issue.

Republican Janet Barresi already won The Oklahoman's endorsement as the superintendent candidate most likely to challenge the education status quo. Now that choice is even clearer.

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