A Stronger Education for All Students
Oklahoma is focused on education like no other time in our state’s history. We have a great state, with great people. We need visionary leadership to address recent and lingering challenges for a stronger public education system that equitably serves all students.
Our graduation rate is too low. Our remediation rate is too high. Our skills gap is too wide. Our students have needs, strengths, hopes and dreams. And, for too many of them, their aspirations do not match their skill level at graduation. There are many reasons for this reality. Our public school challenges are complex and solutions will not be simple. Success for students comes by working together to implement meaningful, evidence-based solutions.
Who can get it done?
Joy Hofmeister is a visionary leader who is an advocate for a vibrant public school system in Oklahoma. Joy has the scope of experience, proven track record, and a plan to lead our state beyond “bumper-sticker” solutions for greater student achievement and learning.
Joy knows that success for students doesn’t happen by passing laws, raising higher stakes, or increasing regulation and mandates. Instead, Joy will continue to work with parents, teachers, school leaders, higher education, career technology, legislators, and business and industry leaders in our urban, rural and suburban communities to set high expectations for schools, teachers and students, and to provide the supports to achieve them.
Joy won’t mistake motion for progress. Instead, she has a clear plan to progress our education system from the bottom quartile of national rankings, to new points-of-pride for Oklahoma. Joy will effectively lead our state as a wife, mother, public school teacher, career educator, special education student advocate, accomplished businesswoman, and former member of the Oklahoma State Board of Education who served through two legislative sessions promulgating education rules and building strong coalitions to ensure student success.
Our Kids Need Joy!
Our kids need Joy — again! As a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Education, Joy Hofmeister championed the need for higher academic standards, increased transparency, greater protection of student privacy, a more balanced approach to testing, a reliable accountability system, greater parent engagement, and consequential transformation of Oklahoma’s education system based on evidence, not anecdote or popular perception. Oftentimes this meant standing alone.
Joy Hofmeister is the only candidate with a proven statewide record of advocating for all students in rural, urban and suburban schools. Joy’s public votes and decisions affected all 680,000 public school students, every public school teacher, and all public school parents across Oklahoma. Joy challenged and defeated the incumbent in her own party, State Superintendent Janet Barresi, successfully winning all 77 counties in the primary election on June 24, 2014. Now Joy is ready to finish the job, with a vision and plan to lead our state forward.
As State Superintendent, Joy will continue to listen and respect the opinions of parents, educators, community and business leaders, policymakers, legislators and others who are committed to a strong public education system. Joy has a proven track record of building diverse coalitions to accomplish success and progress for students. She will work with parents and teachers, not against them.
Our Kids Need Joy
First Class Standards for Students
Joy knows that a successful education system begins with clearly defined expectations for students. Joy is uniquely prepared to lead the charge in the important task of writing our new Oklahoma Standards, with 15 years of work and experience with international curricular standards, her knowledge and accomplishments within the private sector, her extensive work helping Jenks Public Schools win the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award, and her collaboration with policy and subject experts in early childhood, K-12, higher education and career technology. She will ensure that our standards require both depth of knowledge and higher critical thinking for students.
Our graduates must be prepared to compete with job applicants from around the world. Joy will ensure that our standards are Oklahoma driven and high enough to compete with the best education systems in the nation and world.
Accountability to the Taxpayer
Oklahoma needs an accurate, valid, transparent and reliable system of school accountability. Our current school performance accountability system has many worthy components, but research and evidence show that such a complex system of measurement cannot be reduced to a single indicator. During Joy’s service on the State Board of Education, she cast votes to disapprove the A-F school report card rules as proposed, oftentimes in the minority.
Joy saw problems and spoke up. She argued that the State Board of Education should listen to research scientists instead of moving forward without assurances that the school report card was accurate and reliable. Joy believes that taxpayers deserve transparency and should know the effectiveness of tax dollars spent by their government. Joy stands ready to work with legislators and is ready to partner with research scientists to provide a measure of accountability that gives parents, teachers, and local communities meaningful information about their schools.
Close the Skills Gap
Our public education system should prepare our students for their next steps in learning upon graduation whether that be career technology, college or entry into the workforce. Our state standards and tests are out of alignment with these entrance requirements, which has resulted in a skills gap for our students. Sadly, the aspirations of far too many Oklahoma students do not match the skills they possess when ready to take necessary steps to fulfill their hopes and dreams after high school graduation. Joy understands that we can close these skills gaps by first building a solid foundation in academic subjects which can be broadly applied. Students cannot apply what they do not know. Depth of knowledge and higher critical thinking foundational skills are what our students need to know. State standards and assessments must be designed around those expectations.
Toxic Environment Due to Over-Testing
One test, on one day, should not determine a child’s future. High-stakes tests do not properly evaluate student learning and academic performance. They are merely a snapshot of information on a given day. Tests should be tools used to inform and adjust instruction for students. We must have a balanced approach that does not create a toxic environment for students. Joy will call for less time spent testing and more time spent instructing. Rich instruction takes time, and over-testing minimizes learning opportunities for students.
Competitive Teacher Pay--An Urgent Priority
Oklahoma can have the best standards in the world, but if we don’t have the teachers to teach them, what good is it?
Oklahoma is losing teachers to other industries and surrounding states. The drain of talent must end. Teachers deserve to have necessary resources in the classroom, competitive pay, and supportive leadership. To address the teacher shortage, Oklahoma must make competitive teacher pay a priority. Getting this job done will require bold leadership.
Research and evidence prove that a key ingredient to student success is having an effective teacher in every classroom and an excellent instructional leader in every building. Joy will lead the fight to provide a compensation and benefits package that allows Oklahoma’s public schools to attract and retain highly effective educators.
Let Teachers Teach!
State and Federal mandates have become too burdensome on students, parents, and teachers. These mandates have led to excessive paperwork for teachers and far too many meaningless tests for students. Over-regulation has interfered with meaningful classroom instruction and slowed student progress. Joy knows that we must set high expectations, but then government needs to get out of the way and let teachers teach.
School Choice: Let’s Make the School Around-the-Corner a Top Choice
Joy stands with parents and respects their right to determine the best educational environment for their own children. Joy supports school choice, and what works for students. Oklahoma offers many options whether that be charter schools, magnet schools, district transfers, school transfers, virtual online schools, blended learning courses, special education vouchers, and traditional classrooms within neighborhood schools. Joy is committed to informed choices, and equipping parents to act on evidence, not perception or anecdote. She will advocate for transparency and reliable accountability, so that parents can make informed decisions when placing a student in schools receiving state taxpayer dollars.
As State Superintendent, Joy’s goal and priority is to build capacity and provide needed supports to ensure that the public neighborhood school around-the-corner is a top choice for parents and students. No family should feel the need to flee from their neighborhood school to receive a vibrant education. Joy also respects a parents choice to homeschool. All Oklahoma students deserve a first class education — which includes those students with and without informed advocates at home. Stronger schools mean stronger neighborhoods, stronger communities and ultimately a stronger Oklahoma for all.
It’s Time for Consequential Transformation
Due to a lack of leadership, “reform” has become a negative word to many parents, teachers, and administrators. Recent education reforms were rolled out with a lack of respect for local school boards, educators, and parents. Joy supports a continuous improvement model. We should always be learning and progressing forward. It's time to start a new conversation in education reform where we collectively focus on evidence-based solutions in which teachers, parents, and local communities can successfully custom-fit implementation of sound initiatives. Joy will ensure that this time our educators, parents, business leaders, and experts are included in important discussions and education policy decisions.
Students Should Learn to Read BEFORE 3rd Grade
As a former first grade public school teacher, and having taught hundreds of early childhood students, hundreds of IEP students with specific reading disabilities, and hundreds of English Language Learners (ELL) to read, Joy understands that the acquisition of reading skills and explicit phonics instruction must be a priority before the third grade. Joy opposes social promotion; however, she also understands that research does not support the automatic retention of students based on a test score. Again, one test on one day should not determine a child’s future.
Joy knows that educators can close this gap in student learning by working in partnership with parents. We must encourage parent engagement, not shut out a parent’s voice. Professional development and well-trained teachers are critical to ensure the acquisition of reading skills for students. Joy will support our educators with the resources necessary to help students succeed. Communities must also play an important role in reaching families with the greatest need. Education policy must be based on evidence when it comes to supports needed for ELL and special education students for targeted intervention in 4th grade and beyond. It’s time for our state to demonstrate a priority of investment and commitment to reading before 3rd grade.
Respecting Local Control
Locally elected school boards, educators, parents, and communities have always been the chief architects of education reform. Joy understands that local control works best when it is respected and nurtured by state leadership. For example, while charter schools may be useful in certain areas, they should never be imposed on our communities without their support. The key ingredient for successful reform is for locally elected school boards to control issues impacting their students. Joy believes the proper role of the state is to set high expectations for student learning via rigorous state standards, provide teachers and students with the resources needed to meet these expectations, and then get out of their way.
The Courage to Lead, The Ability to Deliver
- Joy Hofmeister is the only candidate for state superintendent who resigned from a taxpayer-supported position to campaign for statewide office.
- Joy is the only candidate for state superintendent who has courageously stood up to oppose hasty implementation of many recent reforms that have not been fully vetted.
- Joy Hofmeister is the only candidate who stood up to Janet Barresi early and fought against the release of private student information.
- Joy is the only candidate who bravely raised questions when contracts were renewed with out-of-state testing vendors who failed the students of Oklahoma.
- Joy is the only candidate who brought to light the staggering number of student appeals from the Achieving Classroom Excellence Act that were being dismissed without proper review.
- Joy is the only candidate with a record of bringing together business leaders, educators, parents, and policymakers to effectively create a new expectation for Oklahoma schools.
- Joy’s vision will result in a vital transformation of public education.