The Randy Turner Case (Updated)

For those of you who tune into this blog for political opinion, I apologize for the following post, but I feel compelled to comment on something happening in my local school district.

Randy Turner is a teacher assigned to Joplin East Middle School. Until recently he taught English to eighth graders, and judging by the accounts I have read from current and former students, he was good at it.  He was once a finalist for the district’s Teacher of the Year Award. Turner is also a local blogger (The Turner Report), does some writing for The Huffington Post, and has authored several books.

The 57-year-old middle school teacher is now on administrative leave, having been escorted from school premises by a police officer on April 8—a mere six weeks before the end of the school year.

The charges against him, as related by Mr. Turner himself, can be found here. For the sake of brevity, I will condense the charges down to the two essential ones:

1) That he directed his middle-school students to a book he wrote, No Child Left Alive, which the district claims contained “sexually explicit and violent passages,” and that he promoted “obscene material” in the book “to 12, 13, and 14-year-old children through his blog for his middle school communication arts class.”

2) That he “marketed for personal gain” another book he wrote, Scars from the Tornado, that incorporated “stories, essays, and comments” from his eighth grade students about Joplin’s horrific storm experience, and that Turner allegedly “instructed” his students to contribute to the book.

Mr. Turner offers his public (and to me, plausible) defense against these charges on his blog and I will leave interested readers to draw their own conclusions, but there are a couple of things that bother me about the actions the school district has taken.

Before I offer my criticisms of the district’s actions against Turner, I want to make a couple of things clear. Randy Turner is not a fan of mine. I used to read the Turner Report now and then and even linked to it for a while, but he didn’t seem to appreciate my writing or my efforts on this blog, particularly when it was connected to the Joplin Globe, so I sort of wandered away from what he was doing.

But I have appreciated his criticism of our education system and the attempts to reform it, and I endorse many of his views. (His recent piece for HuffPo—“A Warning to Young People: Don’t Become a Teacher”—was outstanding, if depressing—my youngest son wants to become a teacher.)

So, nothing I say is because Randy Turner is a friend of mine or an admirer. I don’t know him and have never met him.

That having been said, there is something fishy about what has happened to him. First, he has taught in this school district for ten years and has been honored for his efforts. No matter what one thinks of the charges against him, or his defense, any fair-minded person reading the essentials of those charges can easily see that the matter wasn’t so urgent that it could not have waited until the end of the school year, which was just six weeks away when a cop walked him out of the building—in view of the kids who were still at school at the time.

Second, if Randy Turner is known for anything outside of Joplin, it is for his general criticism of so-called education reform and the problems those reforms have caused and continue to cause for the classroom teacher. My daughter teaches high school English and I have heard her express nearly the exact criticisms of today’s classroom experience that Turner has offered, including his criticisms of what he called “overambitious administrators.”

My suspicions are that the hasty and apparently excessive actions taken against him have less to do with some naughty words in a novel than with silencing a contrarian, someone who is not afraid to speak up about what teachers actually experience in the classroom.

Third,  I’m especially bothered by the actions of the district’s superintendent, the much-praised C. J. Huff, who has become something of a local hero for the way he handled the devastation the tornado did to several of our schools, including my son’s high school. Huff, who deserved commendation for many of his actions after the tornado passed through (I thanked him in person myself), has enjoyed very positive publicity in our local paper.

But something I read in the Joplin Globe (amazingly, the story appeared two weeks after the teacher was placed on administrative leave) about the Turner case really bothers me. The paper reports that Huff said a “district employee” complained about Turner on April 4 and he was removed from the classroom four days later. Then the Globe reports:

After an investigation into the complaint by the administration, a 28-page “statement of charges” was given to Turner on Thursday, Huff said.

 That would have been on or about April 25. The Globe continued:

Huff said the investigation included “a review of any and all evidence” related to the complaint as well as interviews with people who might have had relevant information. Speaking in general terms, he said the people who were interviewed could have included district employees, students or parents.

Now, a fair interpretation of Huff’s statement, that the investigation included “a review of any and all evidence,” would lead one to believe that Turner himself was given the opportunity to substantially contribute to the investigation, to contribute “relevant information.” Yet, that didn’t happen.

Turner posted on YouTube the actual audio of an interview that the district’s human resources director did on the day Turner was removed from the school. The part of the interview in which she asked him questions lasted about four minutes. Four minutes. Turner said he was never questioned again, so those four minutes constituted his involvement in the so-called investigation.

I remind you that the subsequent charges against him were listed in 28 pages.  And I remind you that the so-called investigation began somewhere around April 4 and concluded somewhere around April 25. Thus, there were more or less three weeks to interview Turner and get more information before the charges were filed against him. But he got four minutes.

The Globe reported that Superintendent Huff said,

Under the school district’s due-process procedure, Turner can request a hearing in front of the Board of Education, at which time he would be allowed to “state his case,” Huff said. The board would review any evidence against him and then determine whether to continue his contract, Huff said. If a hearing is not requested, the board still would meet to consider whether to continue the contract, he said.

Now, that’s a funny way to do an investigation, isn’t it? You do an initial four-minute interview with a well-respected employee who has been accused of something, spend a couple more weeks talking to others and looking at websites and reading his books, then you never go back and talk to the accused again? Wasn’t there some other questions that the investigators might have had regarding something they discovered?

Or was the whole thing a done deal before Turner ever had a chance to speak on April 8?

Based on my extensive experience as a union representative, as one who has sat in on many “investigative” interviews of employees accused of wrongdoing, I can pretty much guarantee you that the district had determined before April 8 that Turner was guilty of some district policy infraction (there are many policies, of course, that one can trip over), and that the only reason for the “investigation” was to gather evidence to “convict” him before the Board of Education.

Again, based on my experience dealing with these kinds of matters, Mr. Turner, like many of the employees I represented, was already guilty in the eyes of management before he was asked the first question. The questions were designed not to obtain facts or shed light on known facts, but to build a case against him. Thus, there was no need to talk to him and have him further explain his side of the story as the phony investigation proceeded.

It’s true enough he will get his chance to “state his case” before the Board, as Superintendent Huff said. That hearing will happen on May 9.* But think about the odds against Turner. You have the school district’s superhero superintendent, and all the school district’s resources, stacked against a teacher who got four minutes—during an interrogation ambush and without any union representation—to contribute his side of the story, and obviously after conclusions were already drawn.

I don’t like his chances.

But there are, as the Globe reported, some local students and parents trying to help him. A site offering a petition to the school board to “Allow Randy Turner To Continue Teaching” has now reached 229 supporters. And a Facebook page has been created that now has 570 “likes.”

As for Turner’s state of mind at this time, he says:

I don’t want to let people know that I am worried to death about losing a job I love and worried that the steps that have been taken against me could end up marking the end of my teaching career.
 
Though I feel like a young man, let’s face it- I’m 57 and I have a pacemaker. Schools aren’t going to be lining up to add me to their faculties.
We should all hope, as citizens and as taxpayers, that the Board of Education will do its job and give Mr. Turner a fair hearing and actually give his defense the weight it deserves, considering his achievements as a teacher and the fact that we need folks in the classroom who give a damn about their profession of educating our kids.
_______________________________
* UPDATE: The Board of Education hearing that will decide Turner’s fate has been moved, according to Turner, from May 9 to May 23 at 9 a.m. He wrote:
I had been a bit concerned when I have heard that parents had planned to pull their students out of school May 9 to attend the hearing. Now that won’t be necessary, since the last day of school is Tuesday, May 21.On a sad note, this pretty much guarantees, barring some sensible intervention in this matter, that I have already spent my last day with this year’s eighth graders.

22 Comments

  1. Like.

    Like

  2. angelfire

     /  April 30, 2013

    He’s surrounded by conservatives, (I almost said idiots). They hate a mouthy heretic. What did he expect? No really, what DID he expect? They won’t play with him for long — they’ll fire him and he can then tell his sad story to anyone who will listen because Huff (the maggot) and the rest of the conservatives on that school board and in that town won’t give a care. Moral: Don’t be a teacher and bad mouth the authorities….or No Child Left Behind or any other conservative legislation. They will fire you. If you don’t like it get a different job.

    Hey, someone keeps electing these people. Not me for damn sure. I get so angry sometimes when “they” elect them and then gripe when “they” get screwed. What did Turner expect?

    Geeze.

    Like

  3. Devlin

     /  April 30, 2013

    Rather than jump on the “let’s lionize him because he’s a teacher kids seem to like” bandwagon, Duane should be asking the questions Turner refuses to answer. (Turner won’t post critical questions or comments on his own blog.)

    If he thinks an injustice is being done, why hasn’t he agreed to sit down and go on the record with TV and newspaper reporters?

    Why won’t he post the full 30-page list of charges for everyone to see?

    What were the circumstances of his firing from the Diamond school district? Given this is the second teaching job he’s lost, it’s a fair question.

    Why did he expect to write a perverted parody of his bosses and not suffer some kind of blowback? Most people would be fired for this, which is one reason why the concept of tenure is ridiculous.

    Will he press to have his hearing held in a public forum, or will he have it closed so he can continue his “they are out to get me” hooey?

    I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. But I do know that with Turner, it’s always “they” are out to get him, no matter what sort of job he gets fired from … is it five or six in a row now? I forget.

    But at some point, it’s not “them.” It’s him.

    Like

    • Devlin,

      Beats me whether what you say about Turner’s refusal to “post critical questions or comments on his own blog” is true. I wouldn’t have any idea about that.

      But I certainly disagree with what you wrote:

      Why did he expect to write a perverted parody of his bosses and not suffer some kind of blowback? Most people would be fired for this, which is one reason why the concept of tenure is ridiculous.

      As I have said, what he wrote in any of his books, parody or not, is of no consequence, so long as he didn’t slander his current bosses. And when you say, “most people would be fired for this,” I would submit to you that most people don’t write books about their profession. This isn’t exactly a common case. So, I don’t quite know how you arrive at your claim. But I can say that people who write books should have the freedom to do so, no matter what line of work they are in, so long as they don’t violate, in a serious way, the terms of their employment. (And by the way, this case itself refutes your charge about tenure.)

      I don’t see any serious violation here, at least from what we know publicly. Perhaps there is something hidden from us. I don’t know. As I said, my problem is with the phony investigation, too many of which I personally witnessed in the workplace, in which an employee is ambushed with an “investigative interview” with little or no intent to actually get his side of the story. It was intended to add to the case against him, not shed light on what may have happened. That’s what my main issue is in this case.

      I don’t expect people who have never worked in a workplace in which a union is present to understand all of my criticisms here, that’s for sure. But my passion comes from having represented folks who have been accused of wrongdoing and from management’s insincerity in doing a proper investigation. They typically found the employee guilty and then proceeded to build a case against him or her. I have seen it many, many times.

      Finally, I don’t know as much as you seem to know about Turner’s employment history, and, frankly, I don’t care. My concerns here are with the specific facts and charges in this case. And the prejudicial case you are trying to build against him—based on some kind of charge of paranoia and his job history—is exactly why this thing should be handled by professionals. The Board should consider only the evidence, if any, against him that would support the specific charges in this case and then decide whether those charges are serious enough not to renew his contract, all the while considering the good he has done for the district as a teacher.

      My fear is that the mix of sex and profanity and kids, whether or not he has done anything wrong, will prejudice the case against Turner and it won’t be considered on its specific merits. That’s why a better investigation, done with considerable input from the employee, could have focused on those specifics and not fed the oh-my-God-the-kids-were-exposed-to-graphic-sex meme that will undoubtedly be a part of this case.

      Duane

      Like

  4. ansonburlingame

     /  May 1, 2013

    Duane, (Pardon the length of this comment but……)

    Privately, as you can imagine given my interest in educational matters, I have been “all over this one”. But I have absolutely NO “back channel” info either. My information is exactly the same as yours, public information. Until you posted this blog, I was going to keep it that way until all accounts were provided, publicly and THEN make up my own mind and write about it in a blog at least or maybe a guest column in the Globe.

    I have however, privately, provided my own personal point of view, VERY PRIVATELY to at least one elected official. Here it is, in part:

    “First up on my own agenda right now, is the “Turner Case”. XXX, all know of my interest in that case and I will be watching matters carefully, but so far privately, as the case proceeds to some ultimate conclusion.

    Generally, my position right now, based only on public information and with no “back channel info” sought or gained, is I support First Amendment rights for anyone to publish just about anything on various issues, teachers included. I dislike intensely “politically correct censorship”, actual or implied.

    BUT, I also feel that what teachers do in classrooms or outside of classrooms to influence their students MUST have “adult supervision” applied. When things “heat up” publicly, well the BOE is the elected body to provide such “adult supervision” for sure.

    I have no idea what is in the R-8 investigation, the source of the complaints that caused the investigation in the first place, or Turner’s position in the matter. But the public flags are now up and I will be watching carefully how the matter is dealt with, publicly. Ultimately I will at least blog on the issue as well and maybe even a guest column in the Globe will be offered. But for sure NOT until the situation is resolved, one way or the other, publicly.

    I wish you and the BOE wisdom in what will likely be a controversial public matter, one in which politics should be cast aside if possible and “adult supervision” of the finest sort provided to all concerned.

    Respectfully,

    Anson Burlingame”

    I expand herein a little further, for what it is worth. I actually downloaded and read, in its entirety, the book in question, No Child Left Alive. It is a totally ridiculous attempt, in my view, to make a political case against NCLB, something Turner despises, which is his right to so despise. The book costs all of $3.99 on Amazon (Listed under the author William Turner”). ANYONE wanting to take a position on this issue should read that entire book for sure. I also posted my critique of that book on Turner’s Dec 16, 2012 blog post, publicizing the book and its availability.

    Despite your disclaimers in this blog, you obviously and not unexpected have taken a “union position” on the matter. What a bunch of crap that is, in my view. As well you take such a position based on alleged attempts at censorship by the R-8 administration. Yet you yourself have censored at least some in your own and very public blog by refusing to allow them to comment on it. Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth!!!

    I for sure will be at the May 9th hearing before the BOE, with notebook in hand and a very open mind as the proceedings proceed. I expect you will be there also, but obviously ready to take a “union position”.

    You should be ashamed to be so blantly “polical” in this matter before all the information is available, not just one side of the story and a few cherry picked excerpts from the other side, so far.

    But then I have never been successful herein of accusing you of lack of an open mind, whether you even read the “damned book at issue” or not!!! WOULD YOU want a 12 year old child of your own “exposed” to such a book, in any way, IN SCHOOL for Christ’s sake??? Whether or not any 12 year old was so exposed in school is yet to be determined, in my view, for sure.

    Anson

    Like

    • Devlin

       /  May 1, 2013

      Anson, you should post your review of the book on your blog. If you spoke critically of it or did something other than fawn over him, Turner will not post your comments to his. His fragile ego cannot abide it.

      My feeling is that if he used a website bearing the school imprint to promote the book — whether it gets much traffic from students or not — he deserves to go.

      That, and I find it bothersome that someone with such a poor grasp of character, plot, the concept of satire or even the ability to make graphic sex the least bit “sexy” is teaching our young minds to write.

      Like

    • Anson,

      First of all, let’s start with that bullshit censorship issue you brought up. The fact that I have banned your creepy friend Geoff Caldwell from offering up his creepy commentary on this blog has nothing to do with the issues surrounding Turner. I am tired of having to explain to you, again and again, the history that led to my banning that, uh, creepy, Caldwell, so I won’t bother to do it again. Let this suffice: I have a rather large capacity for tolerating the creepiest creeps out there, and Caldwell, being the colossally large creep he is, managed to overload my creep tolerance capacity. You can offer him my congratulations for doing that, and only a creep like him would not appreciate the irony of the award.

      Second, you’re accusing me, someone who has traveled from Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow, of not having an open mind? Yeah, that rings true, doesn’t it? You, essentially the same Kentucky conservative you have been your entire life, accusing me of not having an open mind is, well, laughable.

      Now to Turner: For me, the issue isn’t what is in or isn’t in any of Turner’s books, so long as what he was doing was a) not on company time, b) not slandering his own boss, and c) otherwise legal. You can condemn his writing all you want, but you can’t claim that,

      ANYONE wanting to take a position on this issue should read that entire book for sure.

      Bullshit, again. It doesn’t matter what’s in that book, or any book he has written, as far as I’m concerned. The issue is defined by the specific charges brought against him. As I said, as far as we know (as far as what has been revealed so far), the issues are pretty much as I condensed them in this blog post. And as far as I’m concerned, he has given an initially plausible defense against the charges, although I expect he will have a more robust defense before the Board of Education.

      As far as viewing it from a “union position,” you’re goddamned right I do. Employees,  even lowly public school teachers who conservatives seem to despise, deserve representation in the workplace. And they deserve, before any administrative action is taken, to “have their day in court,” as it said in my union contract. Turner clearly didn’t, which is par for the course in the workplace. Management tends to convict first, then attempts to compile evidence for that conviction later. I’ve seen it work that way countless times and it is that which formed the basis of my criticisms in this case. But apparently you can’t seem to grasp that distinction.

      Having said all that, having raised my objections to the way this “investigation” was conducted and having offered at least one possible ulterior motive for conducting it in the first place (I have heard of another motive, by the way), right now one can barely argue—again, based only on what we know publicly—that Huff and the district have made a prima facie case against Turner. I suppose that’s in the eye of the beholder. But I don’t think what we know of its case so far is in fact much of a serious case, especially against a teacher who has certainly banked a lot of good will over ten years of teaching in the district.

      But I will admit that when someone tosses in sex and profanity and kids and mixes them altogether the thing can get very problematic for Turner, even if he is totally innocent of any serious wrongdoing (beyond some technical violations of school policy). Your suggestion that the kids might have been “exposed” to the book makes my point exactly, by the way. And that’s why I was so pissed about the way the district handled this matter. Once his reputation has been dragged through the Jasper County mud, where does he go to get it back?

      As I said, I think he has offered us, at least so far, a reasonable defense with undoubtedly more to come in the hearing. Perhaps there is more to the charges than we now know and perhaps his defense will be inadequate. But that won’t change a damn thing about my criticism of the district’s actions in this matter. Giving a good teacher four bleeping minutes, after being ambushed and without representation, to contribute to a weeks-long investigation, culminating in 28 pages of charges, is, and will remain, utter bullshit.

      Duane

      Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  May 2, 2013

    Devlin,

    My comment on Turner’s blog was in fact posted and remained up. The blog and my comment can be found at the Dec 16, 2012 Turner blog. I simply said I found the book to be STUPID as a form of political comment. I also said while I respected his right to publish such a book I also had lost a lot of respect for him as a writer.

    After reading THIS blog (and commenting above) I then posted my own blog entitled The Public Trust.

    THAT, how to sustain public trust on the part of ALL public employees, military, cops, teachers, etc, essentially anyone on a “public” payrolll. I despise censorship for sure. But for 27 years while I served in a uniform I knew full well that public comments by me were simply not allowed, period. No op-eds, no letter to the editor, no nothing as long as I served in a positon of public trust. Sure I could bitch all I liked, but it had to be professionally done and within the right channels of communication, officially. And if I was wrong, well I would have had my head handed to me, officially, for doing so as well.

    The crux of this case should NOT be any book written by Turner, or blog for that matter. It will be over how he MAY have encouraged ANY students to “go there” in any shape of form.

    the burden of proof will probably be on R-8 to PROVE that Turner “pushed” his politics on any students, in any way, using his “authority” as a teacher.

    I will also bet money that NO ONE on the BOE wants to touch this case, publicly, with a ten foot pole. But in my view they need to do exactly that, adjudicate the issue fairly and publicly. And if the NEA shows up with signs, etc. well I may bring my own sign opposing such union crap. This should NOT be a UNION ISSUE. It is a matter of civil restraint to sustain public trust.

    Anson

    Like

    • kabe

       /  May 3, 2013

      AB, Are the Joplin teachers represented by a union? I was under the impression that they do not belong to a union.

      Kabe

      Like

  6. ansonburlingame

     /  May 3, 2013

    Frankly Kabe, I don’t know for sure. BUT, I was told by a State legislator that Turner had two NEA lawyers helping him with is case. True or not, I have no idea but the legislator is someone I have known for a while and usually find his information reliable.

    Anson

    Like

    • kabe

       /  May 4, 2013

      AB, I have not read the book, but plan to do so. That said, you say that the case should be taken on by the BOE, but then you ridicule Turner’s source of defense which appears to be NEA. We all know your feelings on unions, but Duane was simply offering to readers his history on this type of issue. He was not putting this in a “union” context in my opinion. As I have said, I do not think the teachers here have a union. Perhaps it is a lesser “association”, which would explain the NEA representation.
      As far as censorship, I believe the Globe censored all of you due to the actions of one disturbed blogger. It was just swept under the rug as a cost cutting move. It is a shame that one person got all of you censored, I enjoyed the collection of various opinions.

      Kabe

      Like

  7. cathyM

     /  May 3, 2013

    All Joplin teachers do not belong to a professional organization (union). Some belong to NEA, some to MSTA, and some neither, so they are not represented as a group. NEA members are represented individually.

    Like

    • kabe

       /  May 4, 2013

      Cathy, thank you. So, they have a choice to be in either group? I assume they must pay some sort of membership fee or dues? Somehow these attorneys are being paid, I doubt they work for free. I do not know how this will turn out, but I am glad that this man has some form of legal help against an organization that seems to have a financial advantage over any individual. Many in this area do not like unions although they have little experience with them. I do not understand why anyone at any level of a corporation would not want to have an avenue against a financially superior opponent. Unions give the average person a voice. AB and I have discussed this many times before, but this is the main reason I belong to a union. Everyone deserves to be represented fairly, even if it appears guilt is inevitable. (I am not saying Turner looks guilty here) The PROCESS must be carried out fairly until the end. This includes separation from a corporation since you have many issues that need to be clarified.

      Kabe

      Like

  8. Duane,

    All I know about this Randy Turner guy is what I read on the Joplin Blogs. The blurb in the Glob on his being suspended and under investigation was sort of innocuous. I was sure it has something to do with showing with boys in the locker room. Apparently not so.

    I did go over to his blog and wasn’t too impressed. After reading some of it, I can see why he is now teaching school rather than continuing his journalism career. But he did list the charges and gave us a brief response to them. As I understand it, which is not very well, the whole thing is over, gulp, sex. Of course, all those in charge of our chilins in the public schools know that the discussion of sex is verboten. I mean that would likely turn all those horny teenage boys into rapists, don’t you know.

    To the extent Turner is quoting correctly from the School District’s “28-page list of charges,” I find phrases like, “sexually explicit and violent passages,” “materials of a sexually explicit nature,” and “graphic depictions of sexuality, rape, domestic violence.” These apparently are in Turner’s book and supposedly found on website called “Room 210 Discussions,” which the Board of Education claims, ‘[in]making ‘No Child Left Alive’ available to middle school students through the Room 210 Discussion classroom blog demonstrates a failure to maintain professional boundaries by communicating with students about sexual topics in violation of Board Policy.” See? No sex talk!

    The BOE goes on to extrapolate this quasi-criminal act by accusing Turner of failing “to meet the district’s high standard for quality instructional materials and fails to advance the goals of the District,” and then, gulp, of sexual harassment! As I said, no sex talk, er, discussion.

    The rest of the charges have to do with some book he wrote about the 5-22-2011 event where he had a conflict of interest involving copyright issues, and blah, blah, blah, he is an immoral rotten stinking sex pervert.

    Now, when Turner turned up to teach at the school district, he probably had to sign something that said he understood and agreed to the terms and policies of the school board. So, there’s the nut. Did he or did he not violate those covenants?

    All that said, I am really, really big on the first amendment right of free speech and abhor almost any kind of censorship. But Randy Turner is selling snake oil. And the Joplin Public School system does not need a snake oil salesman.

    Herb

    Like

    • Haven’t read any Turner books (yet), but Herb’s take sure makes sense to me. So far.

      Like

    • We will disagree about the severity of some technical violation of something he may or may not have signed when he became a teacher. For me the issues is did he encourage students to read the books in question and did he profit from material that he required his students to write. Those seem to be the biggies. And as I have stated, what he has said publicly so far indicates to me that he has in the former case a plausible defense and in the latter case a pretty compelling defense.

      My problem is the mix of sex and profanity and children. It prejudices the case against him before he can say a single word in his defense, and, of course, the district pooh-bahs know that.

      Duane

      Like

  9. ansonburlingame

     /  May 9, 2013

    I am getting confused (my fault) with comments on two different blogs by the EC on this matter. I just posted what I thought was a rap up comment but see that I missed a lot of the above, so here goes, again.

    First for Herb. In my view the issue is NOT just about sex. It is all about the freedom and responsibility (with freedom must come responsibility) of a teacher to express his views both to students and the general public and how he goes about doing so. The “book” was “trashy” in my view NOT because of the sex therein. It was ultimately an attempt by Turner to denigrate NCLB, something that he has long objected to. Fine let him object, publicly all he likes. But the MANNER (or basis) of his objection was simply so “far out”, so exaggerated, so STUPID, that I wrap up that personal take if you will with the word “trashy”.

    You or anyone else should at least scan the whole book to get my point. Frankly Turner can be as trashy as he likes as well. BUT he MUST keep trash out of a classroom or anywhere else in terms of his associations with students for whom he bears distinct responsibility.

    Just how far he went, what lines he might have crossed, in terms of exposing students to one sided arguments, political arguments is TBD, in my view and is the crux of that matter to be adjudicated.

    Kabe now. I am not as anti-union as you suggest. Read my recent posts, particularly the comments with Nonny where he says it is “all the fault of the NEA” and I disagree, strongly with that view. I SUPPORT union negotiations with management in MOST forms, professional negotiations. I have seen such happen time and again. But taking such negotiations into the streets, well I don’t like that for sure, just like Turner MAY have taken his own “trash” into the streets of public opinion in his political rant against NCLB.

    For the rest of you, you must digest No Child Left Alive, objectively and not just rely on my view of it as “trash”. I would enjoy someone posting herein try to explain why they think that book is a good way to conduct a political argument? READ THE BOOK and then decide, for yourself is my only point and yes, if you conclusions differ from mine, then I will listen.

    Anson

    PS: My most recent blog related to Turner is based on his willingness to state his case, publicly, but refuse to take on rebutals or further questions from the public, me specifically. He strongly, and one-sidely has now blogged repeatedly defending himself and denigrating R-8, polemically in my view. Fine let him do so, but NOT cut off or censor counter views or questions. Thus the most recent blog from me on that matter.

    Like

  10. I think maybe we’re all missing the most important questions of all: In the midst of all the hoopla, was there any education going on? Were the kids learning something? Can Turner’s actions in this context be construed as “teaching?” If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then, to me this is Turner’s only defense.

    The other thing that bothers me about all this is that it’s being cast as a conspiracy; that somehow the BOE and/or Huff were “encouraged” by somebody to get rid of Turner. If that’s true, then that ought to be exposed for what it is. The truth is out there.

    In any case, I suppose we’ll have to stay tuned.

    Herb

    Like

    • Of course there was education going on, Herb. No one, to my knowledge, has questioned Turner’s classroom ability. And he has plenty of former students who will testify as to his effectiveness as a teacher. So, what you are saying (at least to my ears) amounts to him putting up an affirmative defense, saying in effect, “Yeah, I am guilty of the violations you allege, but I am one helluva teacher.”

      The issue should be: is he guilty of the alleged violations of district policy and, if so, are those violations serious enough, given his service to the district (what we used to call in my bidness, banking “goodwill”) to boot him out of the classroom?

      Duane

      Like

  11. ansonburlingame

     /  May 11, 2013

    You Nailed it Duane,

    Was Turner a “good teacher” for years and years? I frankly don’t know the answer? Do you? A poll of students is not the way to find out that answer either, in my view.

    Did Turner in fact expose students to “trash”, hyperbola of a poltical nature that was, well read the book and make your own judgment of it? I don’t know the answer, yet, but will at the hearing I suspect.

    I learned long ago in my professional life that one “Aw shit” far outweighed 100 “Atta boys”, depending of course on the nature of the Aw shit. The best CO in the Navy that finds his ship aground, will probably NEVER be a CO again. Fair, yep, such has been so for 200 plus years in the American Navy and most others around the world.

    From a political argument stand point, how to make a valid one, the book is terrible, period.

    But that is not a firing offense, in my view.

    But IF he exposed students to such, well, that to me is a rather big Aw shit.

    We’ll see what happens at the hearing.

    Anson

    Like

  12. ansonburlingame

     /  May 11, 2013

    By the way, I am NOT trying to act like Superintendent Burlingame, as you or someone mentioned elsewhere in this string. Far from it. I am trying to view this case, at least the now public parts of it as if I was judging the matter if I was a member of the BOE.

    I think that is my right, and yours as well, as private citizens discussing public information of interest to some. Why else would we blog?

    Anson

    Like

  13. Anonymous

     /  June 7, 2013

    I feel for randy turner. what do you expect from a bunch of liberal beauricrats. Its the stupid liberal policies that have ruined the school system in this country.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: