Monday, July 28, 2014

Burlingame: Teachers who testified for Turner "sore excuses for good teachers"

Three teachers testified for me at my termination hearing May 23, 2013. None of them talked about their own philosophies or styles of teaching, but all of them were labeled bad teachers today by blogger and frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame.

That normally would not be such a big deal, considering that Burlingame's frequent blog posts on education have shown little understanding of what goes on in the classroom and even less understanding about what goes on in the Joplin R-8 School District.

The problem is that much of what Burlingame writes about the local school district is a parroting of what Superintendent C. J. Huff tells him. When Burlingame writes about the development of Joplin, it is based on what David Wallace of Wallace-Bajjali tells him. In the past, when he wrote about the friction in Joplin city government, it was based on what former City Manager Mark Rohr tell him.

If he states an opinion on anything that happens in the Joplin school district, it is a safe bet that at some point he has heard it from C. J. Huff.

By the way, I have never met, personally (as far as I know), any of the whinners on the Turner Report, other than Randy and only briefly. But I have seen some of them in action, particularly in the Turner hearing. They were sore excuses for good teachers, the ones I saw and heard, to be sure.

Three teachets testified for me, all veteran teachers who have served the Joplin R-8 School District well. Two of those teachers, Mike Wallace and Kim Frencken, left the district following the 2013-2014 school year. The third one is still teaching in the district.

Burlingame appears to be C. J. Huff's attack dog on the issue of low morale among district employees. In his most recent post, he suggests that teachers who have problems and do not receive satisfaction from their building principals should send a letter to C. J. Huff stating their problems, making sure to send a copy of the letter to the building principal.

Now that is a plan that would certainly aid C.J. Huff in getting a new list of teachers to drive out of the district, but it would do nothing to take care of the teachers' concerns.

Burlingame also insists that if he were a classroom teacher, he would take care of the discipline problems. After all, no one messes with Anson Burlingame, as he explained in this response to two comments:

Hell even Turner complained of being “attacked” by a student. Can you imagine a student attacking ME, or either of you and what would happen if that was the case!!! I don’t mean physical repercussions either. I mean that kid would get an ear and headfull of the strongest responses he might have every encountered and he would NEVER return to any class that I taught, ever again. And if some principal tried to …….., well talk about a hearing before the BOE. I would demand on in spades in about a day!!!

And if there is a problem with discipline that extends beyond the classroom, it has nothing to do with C. J. Huff, but with the principals and certainly, C. J. would be upset if he knew of such a problem:

I have had just such discussions on many occassions with the Superintendent in Joplin, how can teachers get their views heard? In my view the problem is not at the Superintendent level, it is at the Principal level. If I was a teacher that “had” to take a “hoodlum” back into my class based on direction from the Principal, I would be knocking on the Superintendent’s door that same day or emailing him a strong email. Of course if I did that, well I better be correct in my complaint as well. But I would NEVER let some “administrator” tell me to do something that was just WRONG, either. It would have to “come from the top” for sure.

Fortunately, most of Anson's misinformation about the local education scene has appeared on his blog and not in the Joplin Globe where he enjoys a much larger readership, but he has already declared that I was a bad teacher and now without missing a beat, those who testified for me are also bad teachers.

They have to be. C. J. Huff wouldn't lie about something like that, would he?


Anonymous said...

Anson Burlingame has no clue what happens to teachers and others in R8. For that matter, he has no idea about being a teacher.
1) Why does he think that seeing these people at a hearing would let him know whether or not they are good teachers? Has he had them as a teacher or has he had a child in one of their classes?
2) Mr. Burlingame also has no clue about some students now. If he were to be in a secondary classroom (like Mr. Turner), many of those students are fully adult sized and many of them can hurt a teacher or student quite easily. You might like to give that kid "an ear and headfull of strong responses" but you might be trying to do it without your teeth or with a concussion.
3) Mr. Burlingame, what makes you think you'll get to have a hearing with the BOE? No one gets to just talk to the board. Besides, remember? Teachers aren't allowed to talk to the board members and they certainly aren't going to let you speak at a meeting.
4) Is there a problem with principals backing up teachers with discipline? Often. And many times, those actions (or inactions) are sanctioned from the top. We're told regularly to do things that are wrong for kids and wrong for a work environment and those orders "come from the top."
Here's a challenge for Mr. Burlingame. Go teach in an elementary classroom for a couple of months. Be sure you get the class where the parents are all represented--some don't care, some don't want their kid to do anything that they don't want to (like learn). Many kids will yell and scream, crawl under tables, throw things, run away, spit, cuss, steal and hurt others but they WILL have to stay in your class. You do that, Mr. Burlingame and then let me know how worthless teachers are.

Anonymous said...

"I would NEVER let some “administrator” tell me to do something that was just WRONG, either. It would have to “come from the top” for sure."

It is very interesting that Anson admits he would do something that was just WRONG if it came "from the top."

That speaks volumes to his character.

Anonymous said...

I love how non-teachers feel like that they are the experts on education. I was in school, they say. I went to four years of college, and have over 10 years of experience and I know nothing. Good teaching consists of clear communication, in depth content knowledge and relationships. If it is easy. Come in and teach for a couple of years, Anson!

Anonymous said...

Forgetting for a moment how ridiculous most of his opinions are, I cannot understand how any self-respecting media outlet would give Mr. Burlingame a forum, simply because he does not write well. It's hard to figure out what he's trying to say because of all the typos, confusing sentences, and lots of words in all caps for no apparent reason. He makes the Unabomber manifesto look like Shakespeare. Seriously, it's painful to read his work.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he's working with CJ again. It certainly has the scent of CJ's track. Blame everything on teachers and place no blame on upper admin.

Anson is an ass. A horse's ass. And therefore the perfect representative to push the Huff mantra.

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant idea--send Huff and your principal a letter about why you're not happy. Better include your resignation--that'll save you being fired.

Apparently Anson, as usual, is totally clueless about what it's REALLY like in the district. Perhaps he needs to talk to someone other than Cj and his very few followers for information. Fool.