Joe Miller: Central High Debate a Thing of the Past

In 2003, a debate team from Central High School finished tenth in the nation – an unlikely accomplishment, considering the school had been declared “academically deficient” by the state of Missouri a year earlier.

Five years later, debaters from Central won the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues’ national championship.

Central has won the city championship more times than any other school, even Lincoln College Prep, a school students have to score high on tests to get into.

And dozens and dozens of Central debaters have gone on to college, many of them with full-ride scholarships, while more than half of their classmates have wound up being drop outs.

Now the Central High debate program is a thing of the past.

In fact, debate is dead all but one of the Kansas City School District’s high schools.

Who’s to blame?

Kansas City’s business leadership and the Kansas City Star.

During the most recent school board elections, the city’s civic heavy hitters and the daily paper, who I’ll refer to hence forward as the White Power Structure, came out strong for a slate of candidates who ran on a platform of unwavering support for the newly appointed superintendent, John Covington.

These candidates vilified several of the board’s black members, accused them of micromanaging and patronage, and hailed Covington as some sort of educational knight on a white horse.

It’s turned out, however, that Covington isn’t much different from the parade of superintendents who’ve preceded him: power hungry, arrogant, inflexible. 

Covington unilaterally killed debate in Kansas City when he canceled all district contracts and then refused to renew the district’s agreement with DEBATE Kansas City, a two-man operation that offices out of UMKC.

The contract in question was a pittance, a mere $70,000 a year. Yet it was enough to ensure a program that included training and support for coaches at the school, supplies for students, a yearlong series of tournaments (including the city championships), trips to out of town tournaments and scholarships for debate camps.

DEBATE Kansas City offered its services for free for the better part of a year after the contract was canceled. And its board members and supporters tried to impress upon district officials that without DEBATE Kansas City’s program, debate would disappear from the schools.

And that’s exactly what has happened.

So why is this the White Power Structure’s fault, and not simply Covington’s?

Because the White Power Structure’s approach to reform in the district will always result in leaders like Covington.

Kansas City’s White Power Structure employs a classic white-liberal strategy when it comes to the district, which is an arms-length tack, an “I gave at the office” policy.

In other words, the method is to declare a nebulous ideal and then to push for the hiring of someone who can come in and take care of the problem so that the White Power Structure’s movers and shakers can wash their hands of it.

For decades upon decades, the Star and the civic community have pushed for a super superintendent who can come in and save the district. And it’s failed every time because the district can’t be saved by one person, no matter how much success they might’ve had somewhere else.

That’s because the district will always be a reflection of our community, a casualty of our dividedness and inequality, always languishing from a lack of community vision and investment.

The arms-length approach only serves to worsen the problem. It puts too much of the responsibility on one person, usually a person who’s brought in from somewhere else, and that person doesn’t know what the city wants and needs because the White Power Structure has taken an arms-length approach.

It’s like they’ve said, “Here’s our fucked-up district. Fix it.”

That does two things.

One, it attracts a certain kind of applicant to the job, and it’s the kind who’s likely to kill a really good program and then stand behind his choice out of stubbornness, even if it’s a bad idea.

Two, it doesn’t establish a vision for the district, one that has specifics, such as “We want debate,” and is also something a broad cross-section of the city can get behind and support until the vision becomes reality.

And it’s sad, because the death of debate is just one less opportunity for the kids in this city, and it was really good one, a program that gave students many of the skills they’ll need to thrive in society.
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28 Responses to Joe Miller: Central High Debate a Thing of the Past

  1. chuck says:

    Joe Miller channeling Tony Bottelo.
    “And it

  2. chuck says:

    I gotta go to work,
    I am not done with you…

  3. smartman says:

    Hey Joe
    Don’t Fuck with Chuck! He’s absolutely right as usual.

    High School is about preparing kids for life. Fuck debate. Debate don’t work in the hood. Just gets your ass shot quicker. How to be a Ho by Velvet Jones should be required reading. Chemistry 101 for the meth cookers and maybe some advanced gunsmithing in shop. Some foreign language training on how to say Hi Can I Help You in 37 languages for all the international tourists coming to visit the P&L.

    Let’s see some stats on the college graduation rates of these kids. Going to college is great but how many of them graduate and with what kinda degrees?
    Certainly someone is tracking that data. If we can catch Hearne running a red light we should know if Shaniqua is getting a JD, MD or maybe an OD like Amy Winehouse.

    Just like the Middle East the KCMOSD is so fucked up it that it will take a century to get the cotton gin back in the field.

    This LBJ Great Society shit doesn’t work. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and some little fuckers from the Suge Knight Academy will kill him and take his fish. Even the premise is fucked up now.

    If the KCMOSD was a bus Rosa Parks wouldn’t get on. She’d prefer to wait for light rail. Just like the overall problems in Urban America the problems in the KCMOSD are the source of power for too many people who just wanna keep the niggers on the porch except for the weekends when they flash mob the Plaza or harass whitey downtown.

    Public schools suck. We spend more money per student in the US than any other civilized, or uncivilized nation for that matter and we still get our asses kicked on test scores by those fuckers in India, Japan and China. You know why? Because they get it. While we’re letting kids read the ipad versions of Heather Has Two Mommies and Dad’s Friend Bill those kids parents, (notice I said parents as in one mommy and one daddy), are making them learn three things, Math, Science and English.

    I can’t wait ’til 2035 when Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban are replaced by owners with names like Hu Phuyk Yu and Rajamatam Shamalamadingdong.

    We’re fucked in this country and my advice to you is to start becoming part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

    OK Chuck, he’s all yours!

  4. You must be high says:

    White guilt….it’s a hell of a drug
    It’s white uber liberal douche bags like you who help keep blacks down in the gutter. The KC school board has been the single most corrupt entity in this city for at least a quarter of a century. They have burned through, what, 40 supers in the last 20 years? Covington won’t be around much longer, West will follow Covingtons exit, the cycle will repeat itself. KC schools have been turning out borderline retards since white flight really took hold in the early 80’s. The halls of the schools are bedlam, kids read below proficient levels. The loss of a debate program is the least of their worries. Kids, good kids, who want to learn, who want to rise up out of the shit hole they were born in, are hampered from getting an education by the out of control wastes of flesh that roam the halls and disrupt the classroom. Thats not whitey’s fault you fucking tool. It’s the fault of the parents, the absentee fathers who are in prison or busy trying to impregnate anything with a pulse. It.s the fault of the school board. Mostly though, it’s the fault of white folks like you who try to assuage their inexplicable guilt for being born white. You blame everyone but those who are really to blame. The parents. The young thugs. A culture that says it’s okay to rob, rape, and murder. Debate clubs and afro centered studies don’t do dick for you in the real world. You need to be able to read, write, and speak fucking english in the real world to get ahead. You need to have manners, respect for others, a work ethic. That’s the real tragedy, the total lack of basic human decency. You are like a tourist at Yellowstone. Feeding the bears. It makes you feel good about yourself. Problem is, the bear doesn’t learn to fend for itself, so it either dies come winter, or bites the hand off of the next bleeding heart that offers it a marshmellow.

  5. malky says:

    Listen, Joe, the Kansas City Missouri School district is utterly broken and totally dysfunctional. You got any idea how out of control its spending is? It’s obvious you don’t. I’m sorry about your little debate team but blaming the Elite White Power Structure is silly.

    I don’t hear any ideas coming from you, pothead.

    This makes about as much sense as “it’s really hot out, and The Kansas City Star is to blame.” Except, even less so.

  6. tracy says:

    Can’t wait for Chuck’s next rumble
    You go, Chuck and smartman too. You can smell Joe’s liberal bias and whining weakness…it’s musk to you, since we’ve suffered as a community from this crap for years. Judge Clarke’s giant social experiment completely destroyed the housing values of KCMO. It made JoCo a towering presence. The Star of course ignored it, because they have the same nobless oblige attitude that Joe Miller has.

    Can’t wait for more comments. Work faster, Chuck. Your real gift to this town is writing.

  7. Gerald Bostock says:

    It’s the Star what’s done it
    so Tracy and Joe Miller agree that the Star is to blame for destroying the KC school district and the city itself–at first by forcing the district to build all those schools and then by forcing the district to close all those schools. And because those new buildings contribute to the urban heat island effect, the Star is also to blame for how hot it is in KC, as Malky suspected. I look forward to your explanations of how the Star is responsible for the Murdoch phone hacking scandal and the Norway massacre. The White Power Structure Pool Party is this weekend at Miriam Pepper’s house in Leawood.

  8. the log says:

    Right on Chuck and Smartman
    Just another liberal blame whitey article, just like the last one. Your stock in trade is drying up homie. I would like to think liberal white pussies like you will soon disappear as more and more white producers wake up to the fact that their viewed as the enemy by our govt.
    How much more of my money do we need to pour down the inner city rat hole before your guilt is assuaged.

  9. Orphan of the Road says:

    I see him as an elitist posing as Liberal.

    Chuck, I lived in Berks County, PA before coming back to KC. I don’t know any personally but they were my neighbors. Scary place. Hope you can get out to The Record Bar tonight. I’ll have them wave the two-tattoo minimum.

    I hate to post under this Miller’s posts as Craig thinks we like him when we really just want to exchange thoughts with each other.

    The black family was an intact unit until the Great Society. To push through Johnson’s War on Poverty, Republicans and Southern Democrats demanded there be no man living in the household. A family structure which had been strong despite 400yrs of slavery and another 100 of being ignored was destroyed in two generations.

    You would think by now we would realize throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it.

  10. Orphan of the Road says:

    I see him as an elitist posing as Liberal.

    Chuck, I lived in Berks County, PA before coming back to KC. I don’t know any personally but they were my neighbors. Scary place. Hope you can get out to The Record Bar tonight. I’ll have them wave the two-tattoo minimum.

    I hate to post under this Miller’s posts as Craig thinks we like him when we really just want to exchange thoughts with each other.

    The black family was an intact unit until the Great Society. To push through Johnson’s War on Poverty, Republicans and Southern Democrats demanded there be no man living in the household. A family structure which had been strong despite 400yrs of slavery and another 100 of being ignored was destroyed in two generations.

    You would think by now we would realize throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it.

  11. PB says:

    I Don’t Care…
    …about his politics, can somebody (Hearne?) just please edit the hieroglyphics out of his posts?!

  12. chuck says:

    Pretty tough sandbox Joe. Here is some more sand in ur eyes
    The names havn’t been changed to protect the guilty, but the picture in this article, has changed since this morning.

    Hearne changed the picture to emphasize Joe’s stock in trade, a 1960s paean, a pusillanimous, Pollyanna-pipe dream prayer that produced poverty, punks, pretentious politicians and pernicious policies.

    The picture itself is an indictment of Joe’s mentality and the seminal reason urban American is in a constant grave yard spiral.

    Look at that fuckin picture!! Of course, Joe, elitest (Orphan is dead on.), condescending pseudo journalist thinks the answer to all racial disparity is a nice sweet white man, showing dem po o’le colords how to matriculate thru a mine field of racist, cross burnin, sheet wearin, Neil Young-Southern-Man-killers to the promised land of Denzel Washington’s “Great Debaters”.


    Its America and the civil rights struggle is over! Brown v Topeka and the 1960s endeavors, noble all, were won, and they are in the books. Prior to those struggles, our Judeo-Christian concepts, the constitution, state’s rights, civil war, lawyers and law makers, forced what was mutually exclusive, into a context of equality through the blood and anguish of those same participants.

    One more time, ITS OVER!!

    No American with room temp IQ wants a return to Plessy v Fergusen (Except during Rap concerts, flash mobs and black race riots.).

    What Americans want, is a dissolution of the expectation that all white Americans are in some way, fuck that, in ANY way responsible for the Black-Urban culture of death and stupidity, that is lionized in the media and whose abhorrent, abberant, violent, behaviour is excused by same.

    The transgenerationl translation of every day American responsibility as relates to race, through the last 30 years, has not only been an onerous, unfair burden, its results are a devastating failure.

    In our father’s freshly remembered past, Americans rose each day, concerned with capitalistic endeavors that enriched their families, neighbors and their country. Those efforts, now encumbered with “protected class” African American multicultural expectations of entitlements (Baby mama’s, babies, govt cheese for midnight basketball, ADC, NBA Jay Z and fuck it all), and an unending penchant for violence, rape, murder and theft, have left our pocketbooks and hearts empty.

    MLK’s call for all of America, to consider the “Content of Character” has been metaphysically filled. It is way past time, to consider the content of the DNA.

    A transformative and substantive change, in the face of this American failure is in order. Trade schools, military service and a whole lot of shitheel thugs left behind in prison. Left way behind. There is no coming back form this quagmire of multiculturalistic horse shit without hard decisions. I wish I was as funny as smartman, but I ain’t. This shit just is what it is and there is nothing but the proverbial blood, toil, sweat and tears that lies in wait.

    It ain’t Joe’s fault. He was imbued with this stuff from birth probably. It was the company line, the “Narrative”. The “Rainbow Narrative”.

    You do not fight the “Narrative”. The “Narrative is all powerful. It rules us, it rules Washington, it rules everything. The narrative is the set of assumptions that the press believes in, possibly without even knowing they believe in them. Its so powerful, its unconscious. Itsnot like they get together every morning and decide,”These are the lies we will tell today.” No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather its a set of non rigorous assumptions about a reality thats arranged in such a way, as to reinforce their best and most ideal assumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they have chosen to live their lives.

    Here is to Bob Lee Swagger

  13. CMac says:

    Couldn’t agree with this more:

    What Americans want, is a dissolution of the expectation that all white Americans are in some way, fuck that, in ANY way responsible for the Black-Urban culture of death and stupidity, that is lionized in the media and whose abhorrent, abberant, violent, behaviour is excused by same. “

  14. smartman says:

    Right Power!
    As least that’s how the Japanese say it, RIGHT POWER!

    Way to go brother Chuck! Tell it like it is. Preach it and teach it until you can reach it.

    Somewhere tonite Mr. Bojangles will dance and get paid union scale because that’s what he WANTS to do not what he HAS to do.

    I hate to quote myself but I’ll say it again. Blacks have the tools and the power to correct all that is wrong. They just lack the desire and necessity ’cause now you can get Fruit Loops and Strawberry Kool-Aid at the food pantry.

    Wake up my fucking ebony skinned brothas and sistaz, look in the mirror and meet thy enemy. It sure ain’t fucking me you see!

    As Massah Jackson used to say “if you can conceive it and you can believe it, you can achieve it.
    Fuckin’ Tiger Woods and the Williams Sisters did it. Took two of the white-est ass sports and fucking lynched ’em.

    Free your mind and the rest will follow. For once actually try to get back to your ROOTS. That’s the strongest and most vital part of the plant. That’s your soul motherfuckers.

    Ain’t nobody gonna blow my mind up in here, up in here!

    But right now all I wanna do is Shoop!

    Oh yeah, keep it real. Don’t get too mainstream cause I just loves me some Cornell West. That mofo is twice as smart as he thinks he is and one day he’s gonna get his shit dialed in, in the right direction and the mother fucking revolution WILL be televised on PAY PER VIEW.

  15. Orphan of the Road says:

    One thing about the unwashed masses
    Or po’ folk as you will.

    I believe it was Chief Roman Nose who said, When the white man gives you a blanket he wants something in return. Usually your dignity.

    Quite a few people have made fortunes pitting the poor whites against the blacks. Still doing it today (Hello Beck, Rev Jackson)/

    MLK went to Memphis to bring attention to the plight of the garbage workers who were predominately white. He had come to realize it was not a black vs white problem in this country. Rather a haves vs the have-nots.

    Bad things happen to good people all the time.

    They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause their easier to please

  16. chuck says:

    True enough Orphan
    I am all for hangin Lloyd Blankfien by the neck till dead, on the Plaza during a Flash Mob Riot while I unload my fuckin Mosberg.

  17. bschloz says:

    State Line to Troost
    Surely we can find 70,000 from the corporate jet owners. Everybody do their fair share. Right?
    This really is a sad thread…epic but sad.

    Cut the volatility with a knife ..Norway…Seattle shooter…Texas Shooter…NY Gunman apprehended today..Kabuki debt theater ..WTF?
    Don’t tell me we were gonna start eating peas? I hate peas. Hell maybe Krugman’s right maybe we should’ve of thrown 10 billion at the schools? I mean long run we’re all dead, right? I vote yes for debate every time.

    After reading Chuck and Smartman — just ordered Conrack on Netflix..–Jon Voight made alot of movies most of them sucked…but I always liked good ole Conrack.

  18. the log says:

    Every white liberals dream to run off to an island and help black children. Enjoy

  19. chuck says:

    Get you therefore hence, poor miserable wretches
    to self sustenance.

    I weep for thee and me, for this revolt of thine, is like another fall of man.

    Treachery, indolence and stupidity is thy wont.

    This, from brother America, defiance, contempt, slight regard, and all that does not become the mighty sender.

  20. smartman says:

    Chuck, Hold Your Fire
    Lloyd Blankfein does not deserve a quick death. One of two options as I see it.

    Plan A
    Trim that fuckers eyelids off, dip him in a tank of honey and stake his ass to the ground in the desert outside Palm Springs. I’ll oversee the entire consummation of his worthless body and soul by legions of insects and other kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species types from the confort of my motorhome. If he gets too hot I might be willing to piss on him.

    Plan B is to chop pieces of that little pricks limbs off 6 inches at a time with a razor sharp hatchet and then cauterize the wounds with a welding torch before he bleeds to death. Stretch that out over 4 or 5 days.

    I love the smell of burning flesh in the morning.

    You start going all Saddam, Uday and Qusay on motherfuckers and the lines don’t get so blurry anymore.

    Them Wall Street boys would be walkin straighter lines than an Evangelical Pentecostal Choir on Easter Sunday.

  21. chuck says:

    Your fuckin right s’man
    Those fuckers, those fuckin shit heads, killed America at just the perfect time.

    Seriously, how do ya live a life and know what you did to this great country, this great population? How do you rob your American neighbors?

    No shit.

    How do you do that?

  22. chuck says:

    Luv that pic Joe.
    Thanks Whitey!!!

  23. bschloz says:

    Propped Up
    Now its a party.

  24. chuck says:

    Gas on the fire—
    Brian Euston wasn’t killed by a thug. He was killed by a culture. He (No doubt seriously drunk on his fuckin 3.9 ass, which you dumb fucks, excuses nothing, and in fact exposes culpability and intent of the narcissistic perp, who, like many African Americans, with tacit permission from the mainstream zeitgeist will say, “Well. violence is their culture, because of those fucked up white people, so he had to die”.) .

    He had to die.

    He had to die, and then, in a perverse, sick, aberation, the “Narrative” was empowered once again.

    The excuses, the social engineering bullshit failures thar fails to look square in the face of 30 fuckin years of failure.

    In general, the sun comes up in the morning, its cold in winter and African Americans don’t carry their weight.

    I am ok with that.

    I am NOT ok with pretending (In general) that they do. They DON’T!!

    Feet to the fire.

    See things as they really are.

    There are places for all of us in America.

    I am a schmuck who crawls thru attics, fixes electronics, and has no pretensions to a provenance like the Glaze.

    Jews are smarter than I am.

    Asians are smarter than me.

    We have equal opportunity, not equal DNA.

    Who gives a fuckin fuck?

    Its the culture of death and stupidity that keeps African Americans (From now on, Monkey Man–you gotta call me Norwegian American you racist fuck.) from from being happy.

  25. Tracy says:

    Boys, this is an heroic string. This would be a book. (Don’t tell Joe!)
    Walked past Lloyd’s summer house this week, on vacation.
    Many of the maniacs who toppled America have taken down their name signs at their front gates. Out of fear. Rightfully so.

  26. Orphan of the Road says:

    I spent many a weekend there. Paul Newman and others owned a racetrack. It overlooked Sag Harbor, beautiful view.

    We were there to race motorcycles. Camping on site but we would have to venture in to town from time to time. We were generally as welcome as the plague. They probably still have pictures of us on the wall in the Post Office.

    All we can do to help is to ensure all the resources we have available are available to everyone. While Lincoln freed the slaves, it took another 100-years to bring all the benefits of freedom. I remember a black woman who always helped my grandmother. She was the daughter of a slave and family values instilled in children kept them loyal and subservient to their old master’s families. It was crazy shit in the 50s.

    There’s a lot of hate out there, on all sides of the color lines. The bat shit crazies get all the attention. The people who are struggling to make it seldom benefit from which was designed as a safety net. They are over some artificial threshold so the money goes to the lowest common denominator.

    There is a story the Cherokee tell. A young man is sitting with his grandfather. Grandfather tells the young man, in every person there are two dogs fighting. One is evil, vicious and bloodthirsty. The other is kind and loving. Each day these dogs battle in our bodies.

    The young boy asks the grandfather which dog will win. And grandfather replies, the one we feed.

  27. Captain Hero says:

    I’ll just keep this post short and give my libertarian point of view here. I don’t give a shit about the plight any group, color, creed etc or what they do or how they do it….However I DO NOT and AM NOT interested in paying for it.

    Nothing pisses me off more than going to the grocery store. I am exceedingly tired of walking through my local Price Chopper and ALWAYS…ALWAYS running into thugs or white trash, all tatted up, smelling of ciggarettes, gathering up all the goodies that are on the approved WIC list! Mother FUCKERS!!! I am not poor…I can afford some of the good stuff from time to time…but GOD DAMN IT….have you seen the staggering payload of name brand shit that you get when you are knocked up and on WIC? ….even worse is that it’s never just the stupid knocked up bitch shopping for this shit…the worthless unemployed pot head that knocked up the dumb bitch is always there with her helping her hoist the 2 gallons of milk and 10 boxes of Kellogs branded cereals, kraft cheese, bread, del monte vegetables and fruit, JIF peanut butter, Smuckers Jelly………”Baby, we on WIC now….So get’s me that big ol box of honeycomb!” FUCK YOU ASSHOLE! I don’t care if you are unemployed, waste what money you do have doing dope, drinking etc…laying around fucking all day…..I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care….but DON’T make my ass pay for it!

  28. Captain Hero says:

    …and one more thing….if you want to find out where and who the “working poor” are….go to ALDI’s. Truly working poor who have to spend their meager earnings on food, go and shop at ALDI’s because that shit is bottom of the barrel crap and it’s cheep. The worthless WIC and food stampers wouldn’t be caught dead in ALDI’s.

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