Joplin Globe readers and Lisa Olliges- Some really good questions for the board candidates.
Debbie Fort- When she said, "I am sick to death of blaming that tornado," she spoke for most of us. She also came across as having a wider depth of experience than the other candidates and was the best informed.
David Guilford- Guilford quite accurately made the case that things began changing for the Joplin R-8 School District when access to the board was limited. Not so coincidentally, those changes took place the year C. J. Huff and Jeff Flowers arrived. Anyone who was not impressed by Guilford's sincerity does not know what true public service is all about.
Jeff Koch- Koch hit the exact right note when he said it is time to emphasize teachers and students and not buildings and technology. He also appeared to have done far more research on Common Core Standards than either Randy Steele or Jeff Flowers, both of whom are on a school board that is listed on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website as being fully on board the Common Core bandwagon.
Judy Stiles- I don't say this just because I was worried that the moderator might be Carol Stark. Anything involving Judy is always marked by intelligence and courtesy.
Lynda Banwart- Her sincerity came across during each of her answers as did her genuine willingness to serve the R-8 School District.
Lynda Banwart- As sincere as Mrs. Banwart was, she appeared to be out of her depth while answering the questions.
Eli Yokley- The best question he could come up with was about the Foundation Formula?
Carol Stark and the Joplin Globe- The decision to ban the public from Corley Auditorium was a shameful one- especially when the doors will be opened wide for those who want to create a scene next week during the Joplin City Council forum.
Jeff Flowers- According to Jeff, he doesn't have a transparency problem, the school doesn't have a financial problem, and the district does not have a teacher turnover problem. According to Randy Turner, Jeff Flowers does not have a clue. He also came across as arrogant with his eyebrow raising and eye rolling during Debbie Fort's remarks. The only thing missing was a loud sigh.
Shawn McGrew- Shawn was as smooth as he could be, but I am not sure after listening to him that he ever really said anything. Give him credit though, while Jeff Flowers and Randy Steele backed away from virtually eveything that has taken place during the C. J. Huff era, McGrew embraced Bright Futures and the rest of the programs.
Randy Turner- You would think by the time the hour was over I would stop laughing every time Judy Stiles referred to Shawn as Mister McGrew, but I didn't.
Randy Steele- Was I the only one who had the feeling that he would rather have been anywhere else than on that stage? His closing statement was the weakest of the seven. He asked us to think about all of the good things that are going on in the Joplin School District, but he only mentioned two- the High School Constitution Team and the graduation rate.
Joplin NEA- The local NEA chapter's decision to endorse Randy Steele is inexcusable. Especially, when you consider that David Guilford, who did not receive the endorsement, has been a rock solid NEA member and supporter while Steele has been part of the long, long series of 7-0 votes backing many of the decisions that have had a damaging effect on Joplin teachers and students.