"Joplin Globe Stands Up For Public" post. It was sent in three blocks since it was too long for the comment section, but I have put it all together here.
The response followed a comment that once again used a theme that seems to be making the rounds more often these days,- that I was a rogue teacher who needed to be fired and I may be writing some things that are true, but until they come from an "unbiased" source, they cannot be believed.
The reader does not mention another part of the comment, one, which along with the above was published yesterday on the blog of frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame- that my decision not to appeal my firing somehow proves that C. J. Huff was right about me.
For anyone who knows how the process works, the review board only checks to see if the school board follows proper procedure; it does not look at the evidence.
I should also mention that my window to seek legal action against the school district is still open and it is still very much a possibility.
(Note: I divided this into paragraphs to make it easier to read.)
I have wanted to write this ever since Mr. Turner's hearing. I wish I had the courage to put my name to it, but as long as we have the vindictive man who is in charge of this school district, I do not want to take a chance on someone retaliating against my children.
I read with interest the convoluted comment from the reader who signed himself 'Settle Down Lil Turner Tard Scum". CJ Huff's supporters are trying a new approach. I saw it in Anson Burlingame's writing yesterday on his blog, which I am certain has far fewer readers than Mr. Turner's.
According to Burlingame, Mr. Turner was a rogue teacher, a bad teacher, and CJ made the correct move in getting rid of him. Then the next day, a comment, not from Mr. Burlingame I am certain, but undoubtedly from CJ Huff or one of his buddies, is posted offering the same idea and describing Mr. Turner's writing as "ranting".
It also uses the approach of conceding that Huff may have made some mistakes, assuming that Mr. Turner's readers are stupid and believe that this is not coming from Huff supporters.
What many readers may not know though I am sure some of them do, Mr. Turner was writing about the problems in the Joplin Schools long before he was fired. His book No Child Left Alive served as an indictment of the CJ Huff era.
1. The superintendent in the book is completely self-absorbed, preening before television appearances and making sure he has his photo taken with kindergarten students so they can aspire to grow up to be like him.
2. The superintendent in the book was hired to improve graduation rates and he uses highly questionable methods to improve them.
3. Teachers are left to fend for themselves as they are no longer backed by administration on discipline issues.
4. The administration in the book is obsessed with professional development and doesn't care how often teachers are taken away from their classrooms.
5. The spending at the fictional school district is out of control.
6. Everything at Mr. Turner's fictional Franklin Heights school district is about public relations.
7. The superintendent in the book takes credit for anything and everything that was done by the assistant superintendent.
After his hearing, Mr. Turner took the unusual step of publishing the transcript of the hearing and offering it as a free download.
Anson Burlingame and a few other idiots may believe that the school board got rid of a bad teacher, but think about the testimony. It is obvious why Turner made the transcript available. Think about what CJ and his team said under oath.
1. Tina Smith said she knew that Mr. Turner was recording what she was saying and that is why she did not give him a chance to answer her accusations. Anyone with any sense would have given Mr. Turner more of an opportunity to respond so she would not look so bad on the recording. Smith lied under oath.
2. Bud Sexson said he did not know about Mr. Turner's book until March 2013 even though two East Middle School PTO officers said he had bragged about the book nearly a year earlier and Turner testified, convincingly, about each of the times he had talked to Sexson about the book. Sexson lied under oath.
3. CJ Huff said the only parts of No Child Left Alive he had read were the passages that had sex in them. In other words, he skipped every part of the book that had to do with the superintendent and read the sex scenes. He also testified that the book had nothing to do with educational issues. Huff lied under oath.
4. Lisa Orem was the Huff flunky who brought the charges against Turner. Read the transcript of the hearing. Her account of how she found a little known website that Mr. Turner had not used for three years for school purposes is totally unbelievable. Orem lied under oath.
5. Klista Rader testified that Mr. Turner tagged more Facebook photos of female students than male. Her testimony may not have been perjury, but she knew that the females themselves could have tagged the photos but she chose not to mention that. Mr. Turner testified that he has never tagged a photo on Facebook. Considering the testimony of CJ and his flunkies, I have no problem believing Mr. Turner.
I have also read the initial charges against Mr. Turner, which he posted on his website and and the "amended" ones that the Joplin Globe posted that were used during the hearing. At first, they said he assigned his students to read his book without even asking him if that was the case. They said he did not have permission to use the student work and they charged him with violating district policy by defending himself when he recorded the sandbagging that Smith did on him.
By the time the hearing took place, they were unable to find even one student who had read the book or one who had been assigned to read the book. He had permission slips from parents. So he became an evil man who "dangled" the book where his students might find it, using his websites which are open to the public including students. They fired him for that and for recording his interview, which according to something that was in the Turner Report recently was not even against board policy at that time, though it is now.
Not one member of the board protested when Smith said she had seen signs that Mr. Turner had been grooming female students. That was not even one of the charges against him and if there was any truth to it, considering that a year and a half has passed we would have certainly heard about it by now.
In their decision, which Mr. Turner also printed in its entirety, the board said that Mr. Turner had every right to write No Child Left Alive, but he was fired because he had "dangled" it in front of the students, NONE OF WHOM HAD READ IT.
They also said they found CJ's witnesses were more believable than Mr. Turner's.
The transcript shows it was not even believable perjury. I find it hard to believe the school board did not realize they were listening to a pack of liars.
In the months since the hearing Mr. Turner has used document after document, source after source, to show that many of the things that he wrote about in No Child Left Alive were completely on the mark and are still happening.
I left a comment recently where I talked about some things I truly believe. If it were not for Mr. Turner and what happened to him, I do not believe we would have Debbie Fort on the school board and we would not be having a state audit now. He has continued to provide a service to the taxpayers, the teachers and the children.
It may not ever be considered great literature, though I enjoyed it, but No Child Left Alive and CJ's childish reaction to it may be the book that will save Joplin Schools.