The Edmond Sun


October 22, 2012

Meeting the needs of Indian educators

OKLA. CITY — I had the pleasure last week of welcoming National Indian Education Association members to Oklahoma City for the association’s 43rd annual conference.

It was great that the conference was in Oklahoma. Our state is an epicenter of Native American culture and tradition.

With 130,000 students, Oklahoma has the largest Native American student population in the nation, and we offer the largest number of Indian education programs.

Oklahoma Native American students have achieved encouraging academic results the past few years. These students have scored above national averages for their peer group on tests such as the ACT, the SAT and in Advanced Placement coursework and examinations. The most recent National Indian Education Study shows that for the 2011 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Oklahoma’s Native American students in fourth- and eighth-grade scored at or near the top of their peer groups and above the national average for their peer group in reading and math. While score gaps remain, this trend is truly encouraging and shows that many of the strategies utilized to improve performance are successful.

At the conference this week, we learned that Oklahoma is the recipient of a $2 million step grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The Chickasaw Nation in partnership with the Cheyenne Arapaho tribe and the Oklahoma State Department of Education were among four recipients of this grant. The funds from the grant will help us administer federal programs to Native American students in the state.

Also at this week’s conference, I had the opportunity to make an exciting announcement about a new initiative from the Oklahoma State Department of Education called the School Partner Data Tool.

The School Partner Data Tool will link school sites from across Oklahoma with community resources, programs, interventions and supports. I am committed to supporting local partnerships with a real-time data exchange that links local schools, districts, parents and community organizations — including our state’s Indian tribes.

We know that bringing together all of those invested in the success of our students, with a common purpose and a coordinated approach will result in better student outcomes for all students.

The Native American tribes in Oklahoma are an ideal community partner. In fact, the idea for this tool came from the Choctaw Nation, an Indian tribe that is on the cutting edge of community and school engagement.

The State Department of Education is working with the Choctaw Nation to launch a pilot implementation of the School Partner Data Tool with the 88 school districts in the nation’s jurisdiction.

After this pilot year, our agency will make the School Partner Data Tool available to any tribe or community organization partnering with our schools. We believe this necessitates real engagement between the school and the community to provide support to students and parents.

We are setting up the policies and procedures needed to implement the School Partner Data Tool to do two things. First, to engage in meaningful discussions among all stakeholders about how best to provide needed supports to their students. Second, to protect student privacy and protect confidential information.

I want to thank Joy Culbreath, executive director of Education at the Choctaw Nation; Chief Gregory E. Pyle, of the Choctaw Nation; the Tribal Council and the districts in the Choctaw jurisdiction; as well as the representatives of the Chickasaw and Cherokee nations for giving us feedback during the development of this project.

My vision is that every tribe in Oklahoma and the schools within their jurisdictions will take advantage of this tool. This is a big win for Oklahoma and a model for implementing all of our reforms.

JANET BARRESI serves as state superintendent of public instruction.


Text Only
  • Loosening constraints on campaign donations and spending doesn’t destroy democracy

    Campaign finance reformers are worried about the future. They contend that two Supreme Court rulings — the McCutcheon decision in March and the 2010 Citizens United decision — will magnify inequality in U.S. politics.
    In both cases, the court majority relaxed constraints on how money can be spent on or donated to political campaigns. By allowing more private money to flow to campaigns, the critics maintain, the court has allowed the rich an unfair advantage in shaping political outcomes and made “one dollar, one vote” (in one formulation) the measure of our corrupted democracy.
    This argument misses the mark for at least four reasons.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 23, 2014

  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results