Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Barresi: 'Rethink, Restructure, Reform' Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi today officially launched the 3R Agenda, a comprehensive policy platform for transforming the state's education system. “

The 3R Agenda represents a new road map for education policy in Oklahoma, said Barresi, Oklahoma's first new superintendent in 20 years. “

Our goal is to rethink, restructure and reform our state's system of education, she said.”

Barresi said some items in the 3R Agenda are working their way through this year's legislative session, while other portions will serve as a long-term blueprint to help guide education policy over the next several years.

Barresi was joined at the launch event by members of the 3R Initiative, a nonprofit group formed late last year to help advance education reforms in Oklahoma.

The 3R Initiative shares Barresi's vision to fundamentally transform the public education system, said 3R Initiative board president Bill Frankfurt, CEO of architecture firm Frankfurt Short Bruza.

"We came together to form the 3R Initiative with a similar vision for change that today's announcement represents, because we understand both the urgency and the promise of the situation our state faces," said Frankfurt.

"We can no longer afford to be content with the status quo. But if we are willing to embrace reforms our young people have a bright future ahead of them."

Other members of the 3R Initiative board include Johnny McCharen, Kristy Whitsitt, Todd Hiett, Roger Stong, Larry Sweet, Daryl Woodard, Mark Allen and Nancy Payne Ellis.
Barresi launched the 3R Agenda at ARINC's 81,000 square-foot-facility near Will Rogers World Airport. ARINC's location features the largest aircraft hangar in Oklahoma City, where the company's team provides aircraft modifications, avionics upgrades, structural and electrical modifications, systems integrations and more.

The location underscored Barresi's stated goal that, "Work ready and college ready must mean the same thing. A high school diploma in Oklahoma should symbolize that those who earn it are ready to enter college successfully. And those who choose not to attend college should be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century."

ARINC officials said they are preparing an expansion of their facility with an even larger hangar next to their current location. “

"We are going to need aircraft mechanics, shop personnel, engineers and program managers for the new programs that will go into that new hangar," said Paul Berry, director of industrial services for ARINC. “

"The best way to ensure that staff is available now and in the future is to have an education system in the state of Oklahoma that can provide them."”

Barresi pointed to the aerospace industry's potential for job growth in Oklahoma. “

"We can attract these kinds of jobs to our state, but only if we are preparing our students for the demands of the knowledge economy," she said. "Our state faces a crisis in education, with students falling behind in math and science proficiency. The time for excuses is over. It's time to move forward."”

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