I can't wait to get the print version of today's Joplin Globe to examine the MAP scores for all of the area schools. The lead story on the Internet Globe this morning was a bit of a hodgepodge showing that Globe reporters had diligently called officials from a number of area schools. It didn't help me understand the scores any better. Of course, that may be too much to expect from The Globe, education officials, or The Turner Report.
Missouri newspapers need to examine the flaws in the MAP assessments, a big one of which was spelled out in The Turner Report yesterday. And how will Gary Nodler's bill realigning the MAP tests to coordinate with No Child Left Behind affect the equation?
A listing of scores and heaping scorn on schools that did not do so well and praise on those that did is not serving the public need. The scores definitely need to be reported, but there also needs to be a close examination of just what these scores mean and what value, if any, they have.
Hopefully, the Globe, the News-Leader, the Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, as well as other newspapers across the state will start digging and bring the MAP tests into perspective.
The Internet version of the Globe also carried a major story on the tax incentives offered O'Sullivan Industries to convince the company (and I'm sure company officials didn't need much convincing) to move the corporate headquarters from Lamar to Atlanta. It is a well-researched story. I wouldn't expect any less from a story with Andy Ostmeyer's byline. He and I competed on numerous stories during my early years at The Carthage Press.
Of course, those of you who read The Turner Report over the past few days were already aware of the major points that were brought out in the Globe article.
You already knew that:
-O'Sullivan was taking advantage of changes made in Georgia law in 2003 that lowered the number of jobs created necessary to qualify from tax credits from 100 to 50.
-The legislature changed the number to convince Newell Rubbermaid to locate its corporate headquarters in Georgia.
-O'Sullivan's new command center, top three leaders Bob Parker, Richard Watkins, and Michael Orr, all were top officials with Newell Rubbermaid at the time the company relocated its corporate headquarters to Atlanta.
-Bob Parker is the first million dollar CEO in the history of O'Sullivan Industries and that his salary is more than double that of his predecessor.
I imagine there are other items that you picked up here first, but those are the ones that quickly come to mind.
So pass along the word about The Turner Report. This website has 12 times the readership it had just two weeks ago and the number is growing steadily.
If you have any items for The Turner Report or comments, e-mail me at email@example.com Anyone who has any documents of interest can send them to: Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO. 64801.
A few personal items.
I ran into Stephanie Taylor, who was one of my students at Diamond Middle School during her sixth and seventh grade years, at the mall Friday night. She is making the same move I made last year...from Diamond to Joplin. She is now a freshman at Joplin High School. The local television news mentioned that a number of students became lost on opening day on the mammoth Joplin High School campus. Fortunately, Stephanie was not among them...except for just a few minutes, she says. Best of luck, Stephanie.
I had a nice visit after school at South Thursday from Melissa Summers, who was one of my best students at South last year. She, too, is a freshman at Joplin High School, and reports that things are going well. I always enjoy seeing my former students.
I'm curious as to who won the Lamar Fair Queen Contest Saturday night. One of the contestants, Kelly Williams, was attempting to add another chapter to contest history. Her older sister, Joni, and her mother, Denise (Todd) Williams, were previous winners.
I may have overlooked this in the regional newspapers, but I haven't seen any mention of a momentous court decision that was handed down Wednesday morning by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision, made in the case of Jane Doe vs. The Little Rock School District, said the district's policy of conducting random drug searches of classes was unconstitutional.
Until that decision was made, the district had a policy of selecting a random class, forcing the students to empty their pockets, leave their backpacks and purses behind then move into the hall while their belongings were searched.
When Jane Doe was in the seventh grade five years ago, her purse was searched during one of these sessions, and the authorities found a container filled with marijuana. I asked one of the students in my class how his parents would react in such a situation. He said they would be pretty upset that he was carrying a purse. After the laughter, the students seemed to agree their parents would be very upset that they had marijuana in their possession.
Jane Doe's parents sued, claiming their daughter's constitutional rights had been violated. They lost at the district court level, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision. So for the time being, the law in the states covered by the Eighth Circuit, one of which is Missouri, prevents this type of search from being conducted.
It remains to be seen whether the Little Rock School District appeals the decision to the U. S. Supreme Court.
As a firm believer in civil liberties, I'm with the appeals court on this decision. While I applaud school officials' efforts to cut down on drug abuse, this clearly is not the way to go about it. The Fourth Amendment stipulates that there will be no illegal search or seizure. If there is enough evidence for law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant, that is a different matter. How can we teach students about what makes this country great if they see contrary evidence right in front of them?
There are other ways of dealing with these situations and thankfully, school officials are almost always able to handle them without violating anyone's constitutional rights.