Sunday, April 26, 2015

The 3-3 Joplin School Board split and the arrogance of the Joplin Globe

Is there any end to the arrogance of the Joplin Globe?

On Friday's opinion page, the Globe's Editorial Board let readers know it was keeping a watchful eye on the Joplin R-8 Board of Education.

The editorial board was disgusted that there appears to be a 3-3 split on the board. "How did this happen only weeks after the election?" the writer moaned. "Not only is it unacceptable, but it is a slap in the face to taxpayers who expect more from our elected officials. It is an insult to our students who have had to endure losing loved ones, losing their homes and moving from school to school."

Let me see if I understand this. The same newspaper that two days before the election told us that former Board President Anne Sharp was virtually assured of election because Lane Roberts said he would not serve if elected, is now telling us that a 3-3 split on the board is horrible and just like C. J. Huff, invoking the tornado to let us know how awful it is that people can't agree.

What the Globe fails to understand is that the voters knew they were going to be getting a 3-3 split and they overwhelmingly voted in favor of it. The people who cast ballots for Jeff Koch, Jennifer Martucci, and Lane Roberts were not insulting those who lost loved ones and those who had to travel from school to school, and only an out-of-touch elitist writer would phrase it in that fashion.

The next thing we will hear from the Globe is that Koch, Martucci, and Debbie Fort are forming  a voting bloc, the same accusation the newspaper leveled at five Joplin City Council members (the majority, I might add) who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, who could do no wrong in Editor Carol Stark's eyes.

 In another segment of the editorial, the writer offers the following:

"We expect well-run schools, improved test scores, improved graduation rates, and fiscal responsibility."

The Globe must have been happy to have managed with one out of four during the past seven years because it is has done almost nothing to serve as the public's watchdog as far as the Joplin R-8 School District is concerned.

Even the one thing that C. J. Huff has accomplished, the improved graduation rate, is marred by some serious concerns about the educational shortcuts that have been used to achieve that success.

At the end of the editorial, the writer or writers use the imperious "we" by stating, "So far, we are not impressed."

Oddly enough, that is the same feeling I have whenever I have finished reading a Joplin Globe editorial. The Globe abdicated its responsibility to report the news to Joplin R-8 taxpayers as it became a public relations tool for the C. J. Huff Administration.

When a newspaper that has sat comfortably on the sidelines and watched as hundreds of people have left the school district, as test scores have decreased every year since C. J. Huff has arrived, and as the district has been driven into a crippled financial state suddenly says "we are not impressed," it has a certain empty ring to it.

The changes that are taking place in the school district appear to be beyond the Globe's comprehension.  Everything has been done without the area's newspaper of record.

The people voted out Anne Sharp after the Globe assured her of re-election.

People were incensed about the use of taxpayer-financed facilities and district teachers to make a campaign video, but they never read a word about it in the Globe. They had to rely on KZRG and the Turner Report for that information.

When CFO Paul Barr talked about $8 million of "might-as-well" spending, the Globe reporter totally ignored the phrase, The public didn't.

The Globe had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the story of how the Huff Administration planned on slipping $100,000 to replace wrong-colored gymnasium seats through by putting it on the consent agenda. It was well-reported here and on KZRG beforehand.

So when the Globe says "we are not impressed," we don't care.


Anonymous said...

It is a little funny that now CJ thinks that in order to maintain control of the board he needs to have Randy Steele elected president. Doesn't he see that is just another incarnation of Anne Sharp and Nancy Good? The voters have had their say and they proved they would rather have "anybody" (Lane Roberts not accepting) than more of the same. The same is Randy, Mike and maybe Linda. We will see where "those three" will take their direction on Tuesday. Will it be from CJ or from the voters? If it takes one more year to get the change we need then so be it but those that don't listen to the voters have no one to blame except themselves. We are watching every vote, every flip-flop, every excuse made why our district is not improving the education of our kids. The question is "Can you hear us now!"

Anonymous said...

What the Globe seems to have overlooked is that the voters wanted a change from the old guard on the Board. The problem does not lie with the new Board members, who averted allowing Mike Landis to become Board president. One of the previous Board members must decide to let go of CJ the Myth and start working for the will of the people who voted him or her in. We know that Landis will not do this, as he literally owes CJ after that construction job on CJ's house that he botched. It is doubtful that Steele will ever have the backbone to change his ways. But Banwart's campaign promised change and new ideas (remember that cheesy lightbulb?). It is time for Banwart to step up and remember for whom she works, and that is not CJ Huff. It is for the voters.

Anonymous said...

The Globe? Are they still in business?

Anonymous said...

The Globe should have been calling for Huff's resignation years ago. Even before the tornado it was obvious that we were losing the ground we worked so hard to gain. The Globe is as corrupt as the city and school leaders it is charged with exposing and holding to task.

Anonymous said...

All excellent points made, Randy. The Globe shows its head only when it is trying to be self-serving and does an extremely poor job at that. And by the way, how in the world can that "paper" give any space to Mr. Burlingame to spew his ignorance? He goes on and on about how awful it is that the board is now split. If anything, the public should be clamoring for a board that is not a one trick pony when it come to every vote. I have been on many volunteer boards over the years and all votes were never unanimous. Why bother having a board if every vote is going to be unanimous? I, for one, am ecstatic that there will be diversity and not the same old prearranged vote nearly every time. And for Burlingame to "cry foul" because the two new board members said they would vote for Dr. Fort for board president is ridiculous. That doesn't mean they have colluded, but rather indicates they have formed independent opinions on who would be a better leader given the choices available. Burlingame didn't say a thing about Mike Landis screaming that he would vote for Randy Steele...I wonder why...

Anonymous said...

As one of those "victims" of the tornado, I can only express regret that Carol Stark cannot be voted out of what used to be Joplin's newspaper.

Anonymous said...

"Not only is it unacceptable, but it is a slap in the face to taxpayers who expect more from our elected officials. It is an insult to our students who have had to endure losing loved ones, losing their homes and moving from school to school."

No, this is breath of fresh air and hope for the future. The unacceptable slap in the face was a school board who fell in lock step behind CJ Huff.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the GLOBE is corrupt, just ignorant. Ever since Carol Stark was named editor, home town girl and all, there has been a serious lack of unbiased reporting. She seems to be just a cheerleader for whomever she decides is the "home" team.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Anonymous 10:32. Carol Stark and the Globe are not corrupt by any stretch of the imagination. Carol just wants to be part of the "in" crowd, with Rohr, Speck, Huff, and Jane Cage. You can't write negative stories very often and still be a part of the "in" group. The Globe really needs a cigar-chomping editor who doesn't care what people think of him (or her).

Anonymous said...

@10:32: I think corrupt fits the Globe, morally corrupt at least. As our host headlined it, "Joplin Globe publisher to MSSU President: Is there anything else you would like us to kiss, Bruce?", which details the email publisher Michael Beatty sent to former MSSU President Speck where he says he's flipping the paper's stance on Speck and MSSU.

Based on their reporting of the city and school district of Joplin, we can assume that is their general stance towards local establishments. As additional evidence, look at how they reported in 2004 when he was chosen as City Manager that Rohr was a thug, and later decided he was the best, as our host also covered in "Globe wins city document fight, deliberately hid documents that made Mark Rohr look bad".

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone even care anything about the senseless drivel that Anson writes.

Anonymous said...

The one story that the Globe did publish first about the schools is the one tonight about Roberts. That concerns me. We can only guess who might have tipped them off--the R8 media machine? I hope that proves wrong and that Roberts is not allied with the administration. Tuesday's meeting will define his position on the Board. We will be watching.