Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reader: No Child Left Alive marked beginning of the end for C. J. Huff

A reader sent the following comment in response to one earlier today on the "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.


Randy said...

To the reader who wrote the comment- Thank you. That is a pretty accurate portrayal of what occurred. I should also mention that the witnesses who testified against me were well coached, used the same phrases, so there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that C. J. Huff was in on the planning for this testimony, including the extraneous remarks by Tina Smith and Klista Rader that were picked up on by the media.

Anonymous said...

Using a reader's comment to try to sell your pathetic books. That's low, Turner, even for you.

Anonymous said...

Your time is coming, Turner. You have just published a piece that calls four honorable people liars when you are the only one who consistently lies.

Anonymous said...

The kids of the Joplin School District are better off without a bottom feeding joke of a human being like you in the classrom, Turner.

Randy said...

I am a bit concerned that by publishing the reader's comment I am playing right into C. J. Huff's hands. It appears that he, Anson Burlingame, and the rest of what's left of C. J.'s supporters want to make people think that all of C. J.'s problems are non-existent and are only being talked about because I got fired. That's going to be a hard sell when the state auditors are through.

Cheyla Burkett said...

What author doesn't use positive references to their work by others to promote their books? That's standard practice and hardly shameful.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that CJ and Co, had to completely discredit Turner in order to protect themselves. By making him appear to be a pedophile or wanton criminal, they were hoping to make him unbelievable. They have failed, and succeeded only in creating more curiosity than they ever would have received had they just left the situation alone.

The fact that Klista Radar quit her job without having another one, and that Angie Besendorfer fled town with CJ Huff's assistance, speaks volumes. The auditor has plenty of material to work with, and CJ has been exposed for a petty, vain, exploitive little tyrant. The commenters on this post affirm the desperation and the fear they are feeling.

It's a matter of time, for sure. Not a matter of time until Turner is exposed for anything, but a matter of time until CJ and his followers have to answer for their excesses and their bullying and harrassment. The community is more than ready for Huff to go, as demonstrated by the last Board election and the reactions here and as expressed around the community. Desperate measures now cannot save them. It would have been so much better to have been honest all along, rather than to have been so self-obsessed and greedy. They deserve what is coming their way.

Anonymous said...

7:14, 7:15, and 7:16;


Anonymous said...


Perhaps the reoccurring guest of Mr, Turner can create some new names. Bottom feeder and tard are worn through.

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I get this straight, not one student read the book, he recorded his own interview, which was not against board policy then, but is now, and two PTO officers and he make out the principal to be a liar and Mr. Turner is fired by a 7-0 vote? No wonder the teachers won't speak out.C. J> Huff is a bully and the board of education is a bunch of jackasses.

Anonymous said...


I absolutely love you!!! "Four honorable people" is the funniest damn thing I have ever seen on this post. You are priceless, Please, please, please keep posting. You make my heart happy.

A million thank yous. You rock!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The kingdom is falling apart from the inside out.
CJ, we may be smiling "at" you, but most of us are knifing you in the back. Not all of us are as "loyal" as you threaten us to be. Some of us know your secrets. Tread lightly.

Anonymous said...

Does the person leaving all of the negative comments here actually think they are fooling anyone into believing that there is a sudden influx of anti-Turner commenters on this blog? C.J., is that you?

Anson Burlingame said...

We'll see if this gets posted herein. Most of my previous comments never made it to the comment section herein, for whatever reason.

Whenever I write about public education, my goal is to suggest wasy to improve it. Specifically, I want to see far better student achievement, my primary goal. In that respect Randy Turner and I have the same goal. But we sure go about suggesting how best to do that in very different ways. Going back two years to issues related to his termination of employment by the BOE, ultimately so far, does little good, now, to improve the performance of students in Joplin.

It is immpossible to list all the disagreements between Turner and me in matters of substance today. It would be a very long blog itself, or several blogs. But point by point rebuttal to Turner does no good either. We disagree over too many things and people as well.

But I will make this one point. If Tuner got his way, Dr. Huff was fired, ignominiously, and the entire BOE replaced (by whom) then what I wonder?

If R-8 would only let teachers teach, what exactly would they teach to every non-disabled child in Joplin? If every teacher just let kids behave as the individual teacher deems appropriate, would that solve all our problems?

I suspect all of us would agree that every non-disabled graduate should be "proficient" upon graduation. But what exactly does that term mean for any non-disabled child?

Those are issues of substance, not arguments over personailities or leadership skills or even over "systems" designed to achieve good goals. In fact "good goals" by whose judgment is something few can agree upon.

As for the "hearing" related to Randy Turner's termination, why bother now is my point. And if someone wants to argue further, even in a court of law. go ahead. But as I wrote about two years ago, I believe the "BOE Got It Right" in the Globe. That is one man's opinion only and thus far I have seen no one show additional information to cause me to change my mind. But again, so what?

I have worked in very large organizations that had very challenging goals, fundamental requirements for that organization to achieve. It takes good standards, agreement from all concerned they were correct standards, hard, hard work by all concerned to try their best to meet requirements, and effective corrective action when things went wrong based on both internal and external reviews.

I make no personal judgements about Randy Turner. I have only seen him twice as I recall and never had any indepth discussions with him as well. I have offered such but ........? So all I have to go on to judge his views is this blog.

The relentless attacks herein on the BOE and Dr. Huff are, in my view, misguided and will not achieve the goal I want, better achievement by all non-disabled students in Joplin, and nationwide for that matter.

Good standards (which I believe we have now in Joplin, DESE standards), a united effort by all to achieve those standards, good supervision of all concerned, including students, teachers, administrators and public officials, effective internal to R-8 and external inspections, acknowledging mistakes and then correcting them is the path to achieving better public education, in my view.

That is the only reason I write publicly on such matters. And when I write as such, I put my name to it, for sure, like it or not.

Anson Burlingame

Anonymous said...

The relentless attacks herein on the BOE and Dr. Huff are, in my view, misguided and will not achieve the goal I want, better achievement by all non-disabled students in Joplin, and nationwide for that matter.

Anson, your view does not come from inside R8land. We all want our students to do well and be successful. We also want ALL of our students to succeed. Not sure what your issue is with disabled students.

Good standards (which I believe we have now in Joplin, DESE standards), a united effort by all to achieve those standards, good supervision of all concerned, including students, teachers, administrators and public officials, effective internal to R-8 and external inspections, acknowledging mistakes and then correcting them is the path to achieving better public education, in my view.

Anson, Huff and Co. don't make mistakes. They also do not tolerate mistakes. We do have good standards but Huff and Co. think that the way to meet them is just to take tests all the time. Making everything look good, whether it is or not, is what they want.

Anonymous said...

So Huff only read the parts with sex in them?
Honestly, those were not the 'good' parts. The rest was pretty interesting and even more fun when you realize you were there.

Anonymous said... are an idiot. How many years have you taught in public education? How many teaching positions have you held? How many students have you moved up from basic to proficient? You know nothing about real education. There's more to it than data and testing. But you, along with most of the idiots at admin do not have enough experience teaching children to know what it takes. People at admin having 2 years in teaching or 6 years as a speech path doesn't make them experts on education. Sure they can crunch numbers and twist data to meet any needs, they can demand we test and test kids, that we don't deal with behaviors, and demand staff loyalty, but the fact remains they have no clue about what our kids need.

Anonymous said...

Those four supposedly honest people ARE liars. Turner publishes proof while the other four just talk and have meetings to get their stories straight. Everything out of Huff's mouth is a self serving, make me look like a hero lie. Wake up! You can't be that stupid!

Anonymous said...

My son has hated school since 1st grade. When he went to East, Mr. Turner was his favorite teacher. I asked him why and he said Mr. Turner made learning fun and he actually listened to them and cared about them. Sounds like a good teacher to me. Much better than the subs he had to endure for the rest of the year.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying Anson is a blithering idiot. He does that well enough without any assistance.

Anonymous said...

It is specious to suggest that Anson signing his name to an opinion somehow establishes his credibility, while anonymous posters necessarily forfeit theirs. It has been well established that open debate leaves one side punished (extremely in many cases) while the champions of the administration risk only looking foolish; which they clearly do not fear.

Mr. Burlingame has yet to show how overt and courageous he would be if he actually had skin in the game. As of now, he has only demonstrated his willingness to defend the indefensible with nothing more than weak rhetoric and imagined superhuman abilities.

Anonymous said...

CJ Huff & Admin: "I am right by virtue of my position."

Randy Turner: "I offer evidence to support my position."