Oklahoma State Board of Ed Member Lee Baxter Has Foot in Mouth Disease

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The amount of hubris that comes from the education educracy never ceases to amaze me. The latest example comes from Major General Lee Baxter (USA, Retired) who represents Congressional District 4 on Oklahoma’s State Board of Education.

Oklahoma Education Truths reported (gleefully) Baxter on Facebook complained that some state legislators had problems with the new Oklahoma standards.

I am a member of the State Board of Education. I am not known to be reluctant to express my opinion. So I shall.

1. The legislature rejected Common Core in 2014 and directed that we needed OKLAHOMA standards written by OKLAHOMANS for OKLAHOMA children and their parents, and that the OKLAHOMA State Regents for Higher Education certify those standards as preparing our children for college and career.

2. A standards committee was formed naming the very best OKLAHOMA mathematicians and English teachers, the best OKLAHOMA professors, the best OKLAHOMA parents we could find (among scads of applicants). They were rural and urban, from around the entire State. Over a years period of time these OKLAHOMANS wrote the standards in a totally transparent way, with tons of opportunity for public comment. The standards were approved and the OKLAHOMA Regents for Higher Education certified them.

3. Now we have 2 Senators, Brecheen and Sykes, who declare these OKLAHOMA educators are not smart enough, not capable enough nor talented enough to do the job. Instead they want the inputs of a Massachussets/ Arkansas arrogant miscreant who admires only her own standards, and the radicalized splinter group called ROPE who have just declared “public education is not worth restroring.” Every teacher in the state should be completely insulted by the actions of these two. Like me, they are Republicans. I am not proud of them. None participated in public comment forums…..

4. If I need a plumber, I do not hire an electrician. I hire a plumber. And when I want standards written, I would hire a teacher, an educator…..NOT a lawyer or a horse trainer (with apologies to Sykes and Brecheen.). What do they know about math and English standards????? Nothing

5. I am sure I know the agenda here. These two Senators simply do not want these standards. And why not? Because they both drink from the trough of the former State Superintendent, whose fingerprints are all over their actions.

6. Rep Jason Nelson also wants these delayed, yet seems much more reasonable and is asking for “tweaks and edits” Well, Jason, pass these now and I promise the SDE and the Board will take up your concerns PROMPTLY.

7.OKLAHOMA School adminstrators and teachers and parents want these standards NOW. NO more delays. We have produced what we were asked for . “Standards for Oklahmans by Oklahomans.” Does not the legislature have real problems to solve???????

All….please contact your leaders and members in the legislature. MUST BE NOW. This will all be done as early as Monday…..

First – the standards shouldn’t be passed with the expectation they are fixed. That’s backwards. Second, legislators and citizens can and should be able to weigh in on the standards, it is arrogant to think otherwise. There are problems with the standards that only require some tweaks. The bill isn’t calling for a complete rewrite, just further revision. Third, Sandra Stotsky, the miscreant he loathes, has experience reviewing and writing standards. Yes she’s partial to the standards she wrote FOR GOOD REASON – they helped Massachusetts go from the middle of the pack to number one in K-12 education. Those standards were the gold standard in English-Language Arts. Why he wouldn’t want to listen to her is beyond me. Fourth, ROPE is a parent advocacy group. They are not trying to destroy public education. The level of disdain this man shows toward them is appalling. Fifth, the General complains that two Senators are not smart or capable enough to critique the standards themselves. I’m curious if the General didn’t seek the advice and consultation with those under his command? If he didn’t he was and is a poor leader.

The General doesn’t want to be bothered with the democratic process. He just wants the Legislature as a rubber stamp which is not how the state legislature should work.