Monday, March 24, 2014

What Jeff Flowers and Randy Steele did not say says a lot

The Joplin R-8 School Board forum tonight was important for the information about the seven candidates that was included, but what was missing from the one hour event was just as important.

First, there was no audience. From what I am hearing from readers, many people are upset about the Joplin Globe's decision to bar the public from tonight's forum, but to open the doors next week for the Joplin City Council forum.

The second thing that was missing was even more important. At no point did either of the incumbents, Board President Jeff Flowers or Randy Steele, say anything about the changes that have taken place in the school district since they joined the board.

They didn't note the new buildings, they made only brief mention of the 1-1 technology that it has been implemented at the high school and with eighth graders in the three middle schools.

Not a word was uttered, by Flowers or Steele, at least, about the tripling of jobs in central administration, or the extra layers of administration, characterized as teaching and learning coaches, or 21st Century coaches, that have been added, at much cost, but with little result.

No one said anything about the upcoming opening of the 21st Century Joplin High School, with its allegedly innovative career pathways, or the six career pathway leaders, four of whom have no education background, but will be heavily involved in making educational decisions.

Bright Futures was mentioned only by Shawn McGrew, while site councils were left to Lynda Banwart and McGrew, who was also the only one to mention other Huff programs.

McGrew was the only one who tried to make a case for C. J. Huff's initiatives.

The issues, as defined by the questioners, and also by candidates Jeff Koch, David Guilford and Debbie Fort, are clearly defined- spending, teacher turnover/morale, Common Core Standards/local control over curriculum, and board transparency.

The 21st Century schools have been the talk of Superintendent C. J. Huff, former Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer, and on other occasions, R-8 board members.

But when it came the time to state why they should remain on the board, Randy Steele and Jeff Flowers mentioned none of these things that have, according to C. J. Huff, made Joplin America's School.

Randy Steele did say there are a lot of good things going on in the school district. He mentioned the accomplishments of the high school's Constitution Team, and was the only person to mention the graduation rate, albeit briefly.

For the most part all either of them said was they wanted another three years.

Why should we give it to them? I am still waiting for them to say.

As for the other candidates, my guess is Jeff Koch said it best for all of them. "We spent a lot of money on buildings and technology. We need to spend that money on teachers and students."


Anonymous said...

Steele's comments about always being positive were positively asinine. How about being realistic for once and dealing with the mess you've made. That would be an improvement. They didn't talk about what should have been bragging points (new schools, graduation rate) because of what it's cost and what it's going to cost to have those things. But Lynda Banwart did have the courage to admit that she led the now infamous bond issue campaign that has cost everyone a heck of a lot more than was projected.

Anonymous said...

They didn't brag about being on CJ's team he's always sobbing about, did they! Gosh, and he said in that Wisconsin speech that he hired good people for his team, including the board! You'd think they'd want people to hear that since they're so proud of what they've done. It's just downright positive!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish they'd have bragged about how the district has undertaken to solve the unemployment issue in this area by cramming as many people as possible into every nook and cranny at MODOT and every possible office in the district. Not in the classrooms, mind you, but hey, give them credit for trying.