Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sorry Annie and Mike, it's bluejeans every Friday for Joplin teachers

Change is coming to Joplin R-8 school buildings when teachers and students return from Christmas break, despite the whining and protestations of Board of Education President Anne Sharp and board member Mike Landis.

Every Friday will be an Eagle Pride Day.

Translation for those who are not up to date with Joplin School District terminology- teachers can wear bluejeans on Friday.

The change was one that was fought for by board members Lynda Banwart, who recommended it at the November 25 board meeting and Debbie Fort, who noted in August that it would be much appreciated by staff and that it was something that was being done by her employer, Missouri Southern State University.

But the stodgy older faction of the board, those who have been on the board since before most of the current Joplin High School enrollment was born- Landis and Sharp, were staunchly opposed to the change.

"I will not vote for that," Landis blustered November 25. Landis noted that the Joplin School District was one of the largest employers in the city and teachers needed to show professionalism.

Both Landis and Sharp have noted the importance of such strict standards since Joplin wants to be the area's "employer of choice." Unmentioned is that with Sharp and Landis at the helm and blindly approving each decision made by the C. J. Huff Administration, the Joplin R-8 School District has become the area's largest exporter of teachers.

Prior to this change in district policy, teachers had been allowed to wear bluejeans once  a month, normally on the Friday nearest to payday on the 20th, which brought a heated exchange between Sharp and fellow board member Jim Kimbrough at the August board meeting.

Sharp bristled at the notion of teachers wearing bluejeans every Friday. "Our teachers are professionals and we all know they act differently when they aren't dressed professionally."

That logic appeared to stun Kimbrough, who said if that is the case "then why is it OK to do it one day a month?"

At the November meeting, Huff seemed to indicate that parents have a problem with teachers wearing bluejeans, though he did not make it clear what the problem was.

At that time, the board decided to approve the policy, which did not include anything about teachers wearing bluejeans and leave the enforcement and what will be allowed up to the board's Policy Committee. 

Whether being able to wear bluejeans will make a difference, it is too soon to tell, but as Banwart noted in November- if Joplin wants to be the employer of choice, little things like this could make a difference.
READERS- Give yourself an early Christmas present and help the Turner Report continue to grow and cover the stories that need to be covered by taking a subscription. The cost is $1 per week, $3 per month, or $30 per year. You can use the subscribe button below this message or send a check to 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801. Thanks for your consideration.

Payment Options

Support the Turner Report


Anonymous said...

What a really stupid fight... seriously, some of the board has forgotten that teachers are working with children not the business world. Teachers need to be able to relate to their students. Common sense people, common sense!

Anonymous said...

There was a time when jeans could be worn as long as they were in good shape. At that time R8 was accredited with distinction. hmmmm
I'm thinking too little too late.

Anonymous said...

I have often seen Annie with her jeans pulled up high and wearing a button down shirt so what is her problem?

Anonymous said...

Former board member and President wrote a great article about this very topic...!The-Myth-of-Casual-Day/c1uuv/2672008F-3A2E-468D-8414-5EDBF10AE603

Anonymous said...

To me this isn't really about jeans at all. It's about the continuing disregard for a staff they have misused for years. They say they want to attract and retain the best of staff, but yet they pay the staff nothing and give them nothing at all, not even a day of being comfortable that would cost the staff nothing. Suzanne has said she does not care if the teachers are unhappy; they can leave for all she cares. I would say that most teachers and staff have finally seen Suzanne for what she really is--a spoiled rich brat who's never had to worry about how to shelter or feed her children. It is very sad, but under Simpson's leadership her true colors never had a reason to show. Under Huff's lousy leadership her inability to recognize issues and problems has been glaring. It's time for Suzanne to step down.
As for Landis? He was always just in it for a taste of power. No one has expected anything much of him for years. He just wanted to be somebody. He's somebody, alright. Somebody we'd like to forget ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: Is it a coincidence or has this board gotten worse as they've become more involved in the Missouri School Board Association? Is this one of those things where they're just following along with what someone else says and not using any common sense? It just seems that the excuse is "we're just following the MSBA recommendations." There IS a difference between recommendations and mandates.

Anonymous said...

What it all comes down to is that they are nobody's in the real world. Here at the school board they can strut around like lil bany roosters.

Anonymous said...

Please remember all this next April. We need to get Annie Sharp off the school board. She's been there way too long. By the way, she has no children. MSSU fought this jeans thing for a short while but soon realized it didn't cost the university anything and went a small way toward improving the morale of its staff.

Ron said...

Just make sure the jeans are the right shade of blue. Not royal blue. Maybe that maroon color, if it's available.

Anonymous said...

Landis likes imposing his will whenever he can. He has been suffering from a severe case of littlemanitus since high school.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I can't go with you on this one. But not because teachers can't or won't work as hard if they are wearing jeans. I do not favor a regular jeans day because it implicitly send the message to kids that Friday is not a real school day. It gives students the idea that Friday is a play day, not a day of learning.

In my high school building we get to wear jeans about twice a year, and it doesn't bother me in the least. In this case it is not about me, it is about what it best for the students.

Furthermore, how can we expect students to be willing to follow a dress code if they see teachers griping about their own dress code?

Ryan Jackson said...

Mike wears jeans to work all the time. Anne wears jogging suits. Does this make either of them less professional? This double standard has me a bit confused.