Tuesday, December 09, 2014

C. J. Huff: I will rescue Missouri's children from poverty

The warning signs are already there.

In one of C. J. Huff's first interviews since he became a finalist for Missouri Commissioner of Education, he let everyone know that this state is filled with poverty.

And, of course, he is the one who will come in riding in on a white horse to save Missouri. (Save your pity for the horse.)

In Joplin, we were not aware we were that poor until C. J. Huff began reminding us of it over and over until he was sure we got the message.

The next thing you can expect is that Huff gets the job, he will start talking about how no one was interested in education in the state of Missouri and did not care if their children graduated until he became Commissioner of Education and let them know how important it was.

Huff's comments came in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.

Districts across the state are struggling. One of the things we have to do as a state is to own up to the fact that we are one of the most impoverished states in the country. We need to come up with ways to work with the legislature to support our children and families to make sure those kids come to school every day ready to learn. We also need high expectations and believe that every kid has the ability to learn at high levels.

Huff also explained how he would help the state reach its goal of being one of the top 10 states by 2020:

I believe there are several pieces of the puzzle that need to be attacked aggressively from all sides. Helping children in poverty is a passion of mine. What can we do to get over the obstacles for kids to help those kids to learn? Also, I want to make sure we have a high-quality teacher education program and standards to grow the next generation of educators. It’s very possible to reach the top 10 by 20, but we have to stay very focused.

And this is why Huff said he was the best candidate for Commissioner of Education:

I’m pretty passionate about kids and what we do in education. I think very strategically and systematically in everything I do and how I approach problems. I’m very tenacious. I don’t give up easily. And I love having conversations about how to improve quality of education. I really believe there are no bad ideas.

No bad ideas?

How big of a ribbon is he going to want to wrap around Jefferson City?


Anonymous said...

Just one thing I don't understand. Why would God want such a low level job?

Anonymous said...

He is right about the poverty the wages around here suck the top pay in the highest paying factory jobs in town are around 16 bucks a hour they only pay skilled electricians 20 and hour if you are not in the electrical or carpenters local union you do not make jack crap real estate stock brokers and business owners make the most in town

Anonymous said...

The only thing that will save the state of Missouri's schools is that Dumb Ass Huff will have to answer to more than a stupid ass board and a piece of trash newspaper. Joplin's school district has been destroyed by Huff, with no repercussions. Those who allowed it to happen should be driven out of town with him. Pitchforks, anyone?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Huff's team of rodents are getting nervous yet. They should be. East admin? Central office admin? Most of the admin in town? All should be getting ready to leave. With Joplin's scores and sorry reputation, no new person in charge can justify keeping on board those who helped make this gigantic mess. Resign while you can. Let us know when you're ready, and we will help you pack.

Anonymous said...

I remember before HE came to town. We were all eating out of trash cans and wallowing in our own filth. No one could speak, let alone read. Then HE delivered us bright futures. The heavens opened up, champagne and caviar filled our castles, as the children acted out Shakespeare and deeply discussed the greatest issues of humanity. It is hard to remember when a swimming pool was too small for a jetski race. All of this as our district coffers overflow, and our overabundance of teachers revel in their good fortune to ply their craft in the greatest bastions of learning ever known to man. Their only sorrow derived from being forced to ho home at night and on weekends.

Brace yourself Missouri. The rapture that is HE must be experienced....mere words fail to capture the joy that is to come.

Anonymous said...

The upside... HE will be so busy running to every kindergarten class in Missouri, to have HIS photo taken, it will keep HIM busy all year! Is HE really going to let all of those little Angels down by stopping that practice??
Make good choices CJ!! Bwahaha

Anonymous said...

If I were Huff I'd leave. Who would want to listen to all of your negative comments. Do any of you have Solutions or help the community. Anyone that has a life that is able to work in an environment to where they feel they have an impact on things they are passionate about will have a fulfilled and rewarding life and career. Nothing any of you people on here would probably understand. Next time you get in an airplane tell the pilot he sucks, tell your surgeon that you may file a malpractice lawsuit, and see how far you get. We all don't have to agree 100%, but do you really care about education or have been involved and informed. This community is embarrassing on how we treat people that step up to serve and make a difference. I'd imagine that none of you on here have been apart of that or had that fulfilling of a life.

Anonymous said...

Solutions for 11:23: I assume you're talking about school solutions.

1. Work on hiring and keeping better teachers. You can do this by increasing pay (which can be done by reorganizing funds and possibly getting rid of some upper administrator positions that aren't exactly necessary), either decreasing the amount of meetings for teachers or actually developing teachers in the meetings in a more effective manner. I've never once had a meeting about teaching strategies or classroom management in my entire career in Joplin, and finally supporting teachers through consistent discipline measures by administrators.

2. Parental involvement: parents just aren't involved. Not all, we have a ton of great parents, but its probably 20-25%. School discipline only goes so far when the parents don't care or are just absent to begin with. I'm quite thankful for the good parents though, makes my job much easier. So how do you increase parental involvement? Make it worth their time to be involved. Communicating to the parents on a regular basis and being very open and honest. Events almost always need food to attract more people...so yeah, food. Also, the drop out rate in Joplin hasn't been the best, and those people still breed. If they didn't care about high school or education in general, then they probably won't care about their child's education. Promoting success in learning for several generations will fix this issue but it will obviously take time and good teachers that STAY (or have incentive/support to stay).

3. Administrators that stay out of the spot light. It's okay to have a press release, but to seek out all of the extra speeches is a tad toxic. It would be one thing if Huff donated all of that speech money to the community, but taking time off, getting paid by the district, and getting speech money is immoral. The lesson I've always been taught is that if you do the right thing, no one will know you've done anything at all.

I could go on for hours about solutions to improving the district and I'm sorry for any grammatical errors, I'm doing this from my phone. I have too much work to do tonight to get ready to teach tomorrow so I'm off for now.

Anonymous said...

If you are Huff, please do. You are absolutely cotrect. This community does not deserve you.

Anonymous said...

My job IS to make a difference. Huff's job is SUPPOSED to be helping all of us make a difference. What Huff does is promote himself and generally at the expense of others. Most are doing the best they can under the circumstances but a toxic, hostile environment makes that miserable and difficult. Now, we have buildings that aren't worth what WE paid for them and some buildings that still need repair and/or expansion. What Huff and his comrades have done will take an extremely long time to clean up and repair. And good luck getting tax payers to put up money for anything.