Meddling Kids Score Journalistic Coup In Kansas

design_img__s3nlnc-Copy-8The Washington Post has an interesting story this week about a group of high school reporters who showed what true investigatory journalists are capable of.  Connor Balthazor, 17, and his colleagues at the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas began to dig into the background of their new principal, Amy Robertson.  They found discrepancies and Robertson resigned.

In researching their new principal, the student reporters were curious about her masters and doctorate degrees from Corllins University.  They could find no accreditation for the private university.  It all went into an investigative piece on the questionable status of Corllins and appearance as a diploma mill.  When they interviewed Robertson, they found her answers to be incomplete.  Making this work all the more difficult was the fact that Robertson worked in Dubai for the prior 20 years.

The story was the work of  six students — five juniors and one senior — who took weeks to research the story.

Something tells me that, if the students have not picked a major, there are a few journalism schools which would be highly interested.

As for the final scene, it may have looked a bit like this:

 

 

 

58 thoughts on “Meddling Kids Score Journalistic Coup In Kansas

  1. The heck with her credentials, was the Principal competent at her job??? Because some of the dumbest, most incompetent people around have Ivy League degrees. For example, Obama, who went to Harvard. He was some kind of a nut who thought he was President of Mexico, or the world, or something. If he hadn’t had the press and the FED propping him up, his incompetency would have been out there for all to see. Plus, we never even got to see any of his college work. We needed some meddling kids investigating his academic credentials.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    • You cannot evaluate her performance at the school because she was only present there for about a month. She supposedly worked for a consulting business in Dubai. Not sure I buy that one, either. The consulting business has an uniformative Facebook page. She supposedly ran a commercial secondary school in Dubai which the local government shut down in 2013 after several failing inspections. My wager is that the woman’s a grifter whose whole biography is a piece of fiction.

      The presidents problems are pretty irrelevant to the situation under discussion. Obama’s adequately intelligent. His problem is a deficit of focus and seriousness, which is a different issue. The Federal Reserve wasn’t ‘propping him up’.

    • Plus, we never even got to see any of his college work. We needed some meddling kids investigating his academic credentials.

      He graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. IIRC, the honors designations there are consequent to blindly graded examinations. Steven Sailer has undertaken an assessment of his academic history and concluded that he likely was admitted to HLS on the basis of abnormally strong LSAT scores.

    • I think you meant to say that “he was a respected member of the bar, Editor of the Harvard Law Review, learned professor of constitutional law, and two-term President of the United States under whose stewardship the country thrived.” I fixed it for you.

  2. Another case of a male participant getting the credit over female/s. The full team included 4 women and 2 men, Gina Mathew, Kali Poenitske, Maddie Baden, Trina Paul, Connor Balthazor and Patrick Sullivan. Maddie is the student who started the investigation and recognized the red flags. It’s also noteworthy that Ms. Smith, their advisory recused herself because she was involved in the hiring process. We don’t see many recusals based on real or perceived conflicts of interest (thinking of Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia). https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/us/high-school-journalists-principal-quits.html

    • Another case of a male participant getting the credit over female/s.

      Your whole worldview is constructed of social fictions and misconstruing everything you read.

  3. Great story, etc.,etc. but some how I keep thinking that there is still a stone that these students stepped over instead of turning it overing.

    Fine that the principal was exposed but how was she vetted and her credentials verified by those who hired her. I saw this club on GMA this morning and they never picked up on it either….no surprise there.

    Is the school board off limits? Is the state board of education engaged? What about the PTA, the parents?

    • Hiring a local principal would not be within the purview of the state board of regents. The PTA is a lobby for school spending.

  4. Their adviser, Smith, had to recuse herself from the story because she was on the committee that hired Robertson.

    And what’s her excuse?

      • Rubbish. The district employs all of seven principals, the anomalies in this woman’s background hit you over the head, a few minutes spelunking around reveal there’s something seriously amiss, and if they were relying on the personnel office they could have sent an inquiry to them about this.

        This is just utter fiduciary failure.

        • dds – when you are on a hiring committee you usually have a set of set questions with a score sheet. Otherwise, you are looking for philosophy, etc in running the school.

          • I’ve been on hiring committees, thank you very much.

            The personnel office insists you question people in a stereotyped manner. There’s no good reason for this except to keep lawyer rent-extractors at bay. It doesn’t regulate your deliberations. You generally don’t interview more than about four people. Before they made a final decision on who to interview, this matter could have and should have been addressed.

            You’re not only making excuses for severe negligence, you’re being a condescending twit in the process.

            • dds – I am just saying that HR should have caught it. It is their job to vet her resume. It is not the job of the hiring committee. Besides, who ever gave her her credentials should have caught it.

              • The people who ‘gave her her credentials’ are a claque of grifters who run phony schools. Not sure what you think they should have ‘caught’.

                The division of labor between the personnel office and the hiring committees for senior positions (or any position) is something we know nothing about. Where I used to work, you got a stack of resumes from them that you sorted through yourself and it was pretty much anyone and everyone who applied.

                The first thing that hits you when you see ‘Corllins University’ is ‘where the heck is that?’.

  5. The story was the work of six students — five juniors and one senior — who took weeks to research the story.

    An internet search of ‘Corllins University’ turns up a website which has no street address and for which the links to the library and the academic departments are dead. That should have been a huge red flag right there. The woman either has connections to every member of the school board or the school board is composed of lackadaisical lunkheads. (And it shouldn’t have taken ‘weeks’ to smoke this woman out).

    • I am assuming she could have put on her resume Harvard and the adults would not have checked that out either. 🙄

  6. Only partially OT: As Trump prepares to go to war on Syria over lies, we remember the lies of his predescensor, Obama Jesus, and what he told the American people in his attempt to remove Assad:

    August 31, 2013
    Statement by the President on Syria

    1:52 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

    Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see — hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead. All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered. Several hundred of them were children — young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.

    This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

    In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.

    Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. …

    Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization…,”

    https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/31/statement-president-syria

    In a matter of life and death, these lies are not being investigated by our much loved MSM. Why not?

  7. there are a few journalism schools which would be highly interested.

    Why should they care? You can’t make a living as a reporter anymore (bar in broadcasting, perhaps) and J-schools were always of dubious utility.

  8. I am thrilled the students outed the liar.
    But I am also puzzeled like everyone else on how she got through the hiring process.

  9. I read the article in the Washington Post yesterday. I was impressed by the work of the students. But what about the school which hired her? Cannot they inquire into the validity of a claim that Joe Blow went to Yale or somesuch? She probably just cited BLM a 100 times.

    • Paul Schulte,…
      -I haven’t observed any correlation between occupation and performance among school board members.
      What I have seen are “rubber stamp” members who will passively go along with virtually all recommendations of the NEA and the local administrators of the school district, which are often identical.
      And within the same board, members who will actually ask questions and consider options before making decisions.

  10. In reading the original article, my hat goes off to these students. They certainly draw new light upon the notion of the rebellious teenager–that instead of disorganized, sophomoric behavior, the unbridled potential and kinetic energy of youth now merged with focus and sensibility of commendable pursuits of adults led in this case to the apex of student rebellion: the principle expelled.

    Where today in so many unfortunate, and truly as frightening experiences to civil libertarians, we witness students who are expelled for showing creativity or expressing ideas contrary to the zero-tolerance censorship, this time I have to say the outcome was not simply justice, but glory as well.

    One might commend the superintendent’s office for fostering these student journalists’ investigative pursuit but I have to also wonder how much of this was self-interest on the part of the senior administration of the school district. This investigatory reporting actually provided the administration with an effective and unrestrained human resources tool to oust a suspect principal that they can claim no involvement or perhaps save some due process or employment contract restrains and most importantly allow for political cover where the students can be cited as the cause of the ouster and not the school district. Then when faced with evidence and infamy the district gets what it wants in a simple resignation due to scandal and not one that can be misrepresented as a vendetta or other frivolous claim made by a plaintiff principal.

    I would hope that the goal of the school district in these days of student censorship was altruistic and not a political convenience. But the fact these students performed so remarkably and that a charlatan educator is sacked, maybe the means to these ends is not as important.

    • One might commend the superintendent’s office for fostering these student journalists’ investigative pursuit but I have to also wonder how much of this was self-interest on the part of the senior administration of the school district.

      I bet there’s a story there. My guess would be that she was hired over the objections of the superintendent.

      • You have it wrong how hiring goes in school districts. For legal reasons, the board hires the Superintendent and the Super hires everyone else.

        • We have 16,000 school districts under 50 sets of state laws. Her resignation was submitted to the board, not the superintendent, and the hiring committee included at least one member of the high school faculty.

    • The president of the school board is the local dentist. Another board member is the director of career services at the local state college. It’s a reasonable wager that utter half-assedness is to blame for this mess.

      • Maybe you could enlighten me as to which occupations you feel make good school board members.

        From my experience, the ones you list are perfectly fine occupations for board members because occupation doesn’t really matter to be an effective board member. I was a house-husband while I was on the school board (chemist, environmental consultant, took off to raise kids). We had lawyers, accountants, a librarian, small business owners, a diesel truck mechanic, and folks on disability as board members. The result: one of the highest performing K-8 districts in our state.

        • I have no opinion on the optimal mix of occupations. My point (which is not difficult to grasp) is that it’s difficult to believe that intellectual deficits are at the heart of the board’s failure here.

  11. It would be great if some of the alumni of failing schools that Michelle Rhee worked her magic on would do some research and have her locked up. Or if the statute of limitations has expired at least nail down what everyone already knows.

    • It would be great if some of the alumni of failing schools that Michelle Rhee worked her magic on would do some research and have her locked up. O

      I take it you were fired for cause.

  12. Hell, they are a generation too late. The journalistic skills now come from following marching orders from Dem politicians.

  13. > Something tells me that, if the students have not picked a major, there are a few journalism schools which would be highly interested.

    Well, if it’s Columbia, they are probably more concerned with the kids attitudes on BLM and rape culture.

    • Hm. I dunno. I’m on the fence with this one. Obviously it was a good call in this situation, but the tendency of modern young people to destroy what makes them uncomfortable may be what is in play here, too. It could be that simple, and their tendency seems to be to use their smaller victories to espouse widespread witch hunting, it’s the doctrine of double effect times eleven. Would those same kids advocate an investigation of the DNC, let alone convictions for some? What seems to be moral rectitude very often turns out to be something else over the past decade or so. Still, yes, but were their older peers half as committed to truth as opposed to conjecture or flat-out deception.

      • James, I wonder too. I thought the same thing. Did they have an agenda? And would they have investigated the DNC?

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