Susan Paddack is the best choice for state schools superintendent this election year.
Paddack, a former teacher and a current Democratic state senator from Ada, faces retired dentist and Republican Janet Barresi in the race. Sandy Garrett, the current superintendent, decided not to run for re-election after serving in the position for 20 years.
Paddack, pictured right, has the school experience and proven leadership qualities that will allow her to bring together different stakeholders in the state’s education community to improve Oklahoma schools. Barresi, who has formed two charter schools, could overly politicize the office with a right-wing agenda.
The Oklahoman editorial page, in its endorsement of Barresi, argued this typical right-wing mantra:
The state needs someone who will stand up to the unions and work to cut away bureaucratic red tape that blocks reform. As the founder of the state’s first charter school, Barresi understands that all schools and all children desperately need strong principals and high-quality teachers.
So Barresi, according to the newspaper, will essentially stand up to teacher unions. This is about all that matters to the right-wing, corporate cabal here when it comes to education. But the reality is the next schools superintendent needs to work with educators, not oppose them. Paddack will do that. Oklahoma has one of the most underfunded educational systems in the nation, and students and teachers here need a champion, not someone who gets orders from The Oklahoman editorial page.
Paddack’s life story is also compelling, and many Oklahomans will relate to it. This information is on her campaign site:
I come from humble beginnings. My Dad started to work as a telephone lineman, and my Mom was a stay at home mom. They told me stories of how they traveled from one work location to another pulling a small trailer, their living quarters, behind their car. In those early years, they managed to exist on $7 a week. My Dad was a self-made man-he worked hard and always gave his best. He retired as vice-president of the telephone company. He believed that, for me to be successful, I would need to go to college. They made the sacrifices for me to be able to go to college, and I became the first in my family to receive a college degree.
Paddack has also remained neutral on State Question 744, which, if passed in November, would raise per pupil spending to the regional average. This is prudent and logical. Why would someone running for the schools superintendent position oppose any measure that would improve funding to our schools? Currently, Oklahoma ranks 49th in the nation and last in a seven-state region in per-pupil spending. Barresi, of course, has come out against SQ 744, which passes yet another litmus test given by The Oklahoman this election year. The newspaper has vehemently opposed SQ 744 on its editorial page with fear mongering and blatant omissions. Barresi’s campaign obviously resonates with the newspaper’s right-wing, anti-education editorial writers. This should be a red flag to anyone involved with common education here.
Regardless of what happens with SQ 744, Paddack is the clear choice for state schools superintendent