Friday, January 03, 2014

How the Joplin School Board race will play out

Some predictions for the Joplin R-8 Board of Education race:

-At some point, a forum for all of the candidates will be held, sponsored by the business community. The questions will be tightly managed to steer away from any controversial issues, except Common Core Standards. The rules, in what is claimed to be the only way to be fair to all of the candidates, will not allow any questions that cannot be asked of all candidates, which effectively prevents any digging into the heart of the various problems that face the school district. It also allows incumbents and those who have aligned themselves with the incumbents to have a clear advantage.

-At least one group that is not aligned with business and that group may not exist at this point, will try to hold a forum in which these issues will be addressed. The incumbents will not take part in this forum and it is unlikely that those who are aligned with them will be in it either. It will also will receive little, if any, coverage in the Joplin Globe.

-An incredible amount of money is going to be funneled through the Joplin Progress Committee,which was clearly created to promote candidates who support Superintendent C. J. Huff and City Administrator Mark Rohr.

-With that money, for the first time we are going to be inundated with television advertising telling us about all of the wonderful things that have been accomplished by the Joplin R-8 Board of Education over the past few years.

-We will also see a series of letters to the editor in the Joplin Globe and endorsements, perhaps in the form of TV ads from prominent members of the community.

-The people who are hoping to seat the incumbents are going to be smeared (it has already begun) as disgruntled ex-employees, naive people who have fallen under the sway of Joplin's resident Svengali (that would be me), or as people who have an ax to grind and are not running because they want to help the community.

-A series of photo ops and announcements will be timed to take place just before the election to help the incumbents remain in office. The Globe, the local television stations, and KZRG, will show up at every one of them.

-District employees will be subtly reminded that the law prevents them from becoming involved in school board campaign. However, that will not prevent some of them from being used in these vaguely disguised photo ops that will benefit the incumbents.

-C. J. Huff, top administration, and building principals will begin a non-stop wooing of the PTO organizations at each of the schools. This may very well include announcements of some wonderful things for each of the schools.

-Huff will work behind the scenes non-stop to get Jeff Flowers and Randy Steele and one of the other two candidates who appear to be aligned with his way of thinking elected to the board.In public, he will spare no effort to effusively praise the current board for its accomplishments, something he will have many opportunities to do at the photo-ops and events that will somehow all wind up being in the last few weeks before the election. In interviews with the media, if anyone asks, he will say he can play no role in the election and that he can work with whichever candidates are elected.

-The Joplin Globe will allow itself to be used by Huff and the incumbents. The type of scandals that have been noted (and documented) in the Turner Report will never see the light of day in the "newspaper of record," but any accusations made against opposition candidates will receive prominent play, either on the news pages or on the editorial page.

-The scandals that I have reported are far better known by district patrons than C. J. Huff realizes and are becoming known by more and more people every day. The outrageous spending, the unnecessary demolition of the original East Middle School, the pornographic photos of Joplin High School girls, disciplinary problems, violations of state and federal laws, and above all, the management style encouraged by the board which has resulted in more than 200 teachers leaving the district over the past two years, are all going to be topics of discussion for this election, no matter how hard C. J. Huff tries to push them under the rug.

-New scandalous activities by the Huff Administration will be revealed by the time April rolls around. It may come from my digging, or it may come as a result of the ongoing state and federal investigations into the school district.

-If Huff's candidates are beaten, the days of 7-0 votes on every issue are over.

-Voters are not as stupid as C. J. Huff thinks. This is the first time they have been given a real choice since he arrived in Joplin. Because of that, this will be the dirtiest campaign for school board Joplin has ever seen.

Thoughts, anyone?



Anonymous said...

Please don't ever refer to yourself as "Joplin's resident Svengali" again. you are not our resident anything Svengali is a fictional character who seduces, dominates and exploits Trilby, a young English girl, and makes her into a famous singer. Really Turner? Are you trying to prove they were right in calling you a groomer? The word "svengali" has come to refer to a person who, with evil intent, dominates, manipulates and controls a creative person. Again can I say no, no and hell no.

Anonymous said...

Some consider the term Svengali to be the same as Pied Piper. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

It is also obvious that Mr. Turner is not calling himself Svengali but is saying that CJ Huff and his supporters are trying to label him that way and make it seem like anyone who would dare challenge Steele, Flowers, Banwart, McGrew, has to have fallen under Mr. Turner's sway. I agree with your assessment of how this will turn out, but I don't think anyone is buying what CJ Huff is selling any more.

Anonymous said...

I'm hopeful for the best, but uncertain how it will turn out. Given the resources and strategies of Huff & Co., including access to media, there has to be good planning from the opposition.

Sometimes I'll casually bring up the school situation in conversation with people, and I notice that even among those not directly connected to r-8 or following the online blogs there is some perception that Huff has allowed things to go to his head. I don't know how well this will translate to voting, but I find it interesting that this perception would exist in spite of the Globe's faux neutrality, and that it is held among people who are fairly apolitical.

School administrators, Globe editors, etc.: big fish in small ponds.

Anonymous said...

Huff works harder at trying to keep his job than doing his job. Never seen anyone that needs attention, wants to be seen and manipulates as he does. The uprising will come and
is building. His self promotion comes at the expense of our kids and their futures. He is insecure for having to build a school board of buddies that will keep him in instead of doing what is right and that is sending him on his way so this district could be rebuilt. The Joplin Glob editor is a puppy of Huff. If we look at that paper
as of late it is a waste of time. (no intelligent investigative articles. The only thing I can figure is people want the obits.
District employees are miserable with the lack of leadership. Student achievement at an all time low, Huff doesn't know how to lead. He puts principals in that are supporters not great leaders. This is what you get. The worst education in Joplin history. Who cares about weird looking buildings when there isn't anything going on inside. More educated patrons are trying to find a way out private schools or other districts. Too bad we just can't get the one out that is causing all this grief. Why doesn't he move on. Joplin move him on.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't realtors not speaking out.
Who wants a buy a home in an area with
poor performing schools?