That was the word that came to mind when I was watching the Joplin Board of Education meeting on April 28. The divisive behavior on the board doesn’t fall in the sight of a disagreement on academic achievement, finances or many of the pros and cons the district faces. The disagreement comes from a lack of trust on two sides, and it is greatly fueled by comments made by Superintendent C.J. Huff.
In the meeting, Huff said to board president candidate Debbie Fort that in her last 10 years, she was the “worst performing principal in the district.” That simply isn’t true. Huff went on to say that Fort had some of the lowest Missouri Accreditation Program scores in the district. Here are some facts:
KSN-TV reported in February 2005 on MAP scores that Irving Elementary was one of five Joplin schools that made the state top 10 list for most improved schools ... with Irving seeing the school score jump 83 percent — the biggest increase in the district.”
Furthermore, Huff also said that Fort had some of the lowest math MAP scores in the district. The Joplin Globe reported in April 2006 that “Irving Elementary also celebrated its MAP achievements, with 80 percent of its pupils reaching the top levels in social studies and 71 percent doing the same in math.” The facts need to be noted, and these are known facts that do not have any bias.
Fort has been an asset to the Joplin community and its students for more than 30 years. She will continue to be as a board member. Joplin has gone through some of the most tumultuous times in our city’s history since May 2011. We have beaten the odds, rebuilt beautiful schools and have been the poster child for others who have been faced with recovery. Can the bad-mouthing please stop at the board meetings?