Joel Rabin Fires Back on Bartlesville Propaganda Machine Re: Oak Park Closing and Bonds

An Open Letter to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise:
Joel Rabin’s response to the August 7, 2016 E-E article,
“Unique culture helps Wilson students excel”
(August 9, 2016)

Some folks are wondering if our local newspaper is taking a few pages from the playbooks of the national Main Street Media as well as the Clinton’s propaganda machine. Bad is Good . . . Good is Bad . . . Koo-Koo-Kachoo . . . I am the Walrus!

I have reproduced below an article that appeared in this past Sunday’s August 6th edition of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. To me and others, especially a good number of Oak Park residents, it sounds like it’s a well-crafted “Apology Tour” for the closing of Oak Park Elementary School by the School Board and the School District back in 2011 (5 years ago).

So, just what do we have here in the way of news reporting and contemporary journalism?

Well first . . . Gee Whiz . . . everybody over there at the School District was just so, so sad and heartbroken that they just had to close Oak Park Elementary School 5 years ago. Anybody for a good case of Crocodile Tears? After all, the School Board just had to save that $500,000 a year by closing the School . . . “in the midst of another school funding crisis” . . . or so they claimed. Obviously, there were absolutely no other options available to the School Board. Or so they said. Oh, sure! By the way, a few months later, they gave raises to all their employees. As a strategic planner and corporate business planner who consulted with large organizations throughout the country, I seriously challenged that “no options” assumption back in 2011 . . . and I still challenge it now. Maybe we should be taking another, much closer look at their claim of that “$500,000 a year savings”. By the way, did they actually achieve all those NET SAVINGS, given all the costs of transferring the kids (teachers, buses & drivers, classroom space, overhead, etc.)?

And what about the massive financial loss and damage to the Oak Park community . . . including reduced property values . . . from the loss of its only School? How many parents now want to move to Oak Park so their kids can then be bused across the City? Keep in mind that Oak Park is by far the largest private, home-owner community in the City of Bartlesville with 700+ homes! But the School Board didn’t and still doesn’t seem too, too overly concerned about that, although they claim otherwise. For that matter, nor did the Bartlesville City Council. And guess what? They never even bothered to put up a bus shelter for those kids when they wait at the “bus stop” in lousy weather. Good going School Board! Good going City Council!

And apparently the parents of the children at Oak Park Elementary School, “did not think their children would be happy at another school”. No kidding (pun intended)! And, “the transition [for the children] was difficult”. Really? No kidding? Oh, you mean like being totally displaced from their long-time local community School which they could walk to and, instead, being bused across the City to Wilson Elementary School was upsetting for the children and their parents?

But now, of course, the children [and their parents?] must be just gushing with joy because Wilson Elementary “has become one of the top ranked schools in the Bartlesville District”. My goodness, what lucky children! My goodness, what a lucky Oak Park community! And there is actually an inference in this “news story” that Wilson Elementary School is now “so superior” as a result of the Oak Park Elementary School kids being transferred there! Re-read it if you don’t believe me.

I wonder how those Oak Park Elementary School kids would have been doing now if they had stayed in their own local Oak Park community instead of being bused across the City every day to school. Did the kids all-of-a-sudden become smart because they were bused across the City to Wilson? Were the teachers and overall environment so much better there than at Oak Park Elementary School? Really? Conversely, would Wilson not be doing so great if the Oak Park Elementary School kids hadn’t have been transferred over there (as inferred by the news article)? And would the Oak Park community not be devastated, as it is now . . . if the School Board had not decided to close Oak Park Elementary School?

What’s with this all this Monday Morning Quarterbacking that appears to not only justify the closing of Oak Park Elementary School by the School Board, but even seems to give it some type of a new, exalted meaning (maybe it goes with that same, tired old line, “It was for the children”).

I have some questions for the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. Exactly how many Oak Park residents . . . both with and without school age children . . . did you interview for this article as well as for your other pro-“Vote Yes for the School Bond” stories you have printed to-date? My guess would be approximately zilch, zero, nada! Right? And even if you did interview some of the folks out there in Oak Park, how exactly did you select them? Careful now, you’re talking to a university-trained researcher! Were they referred to you by the pro-School Bond supporters? Or perhaps, did they have “Vote Yes for the School Bond” signs out there on their front lawns? Come on E-E . . . whatever happened to “Fair and Balanced” news reporting?

When I originally saw this “news story”, I thought it was a carefully crafted “Press Release”! I wondered if it perhaps came to us compliments of the School District and the School Board . . . with a bit of that old-time spin from Mr. Granger Meador . . . the Chief Negotiator for the Teacher’s Union for 12 of the past 13 years, and who now “handles the School District’s communications” (according to a July 31st article in the Examiner-Enterprise). Come on E-E . . . is this news or is it Main Street Media-type “propaganda disguised as news”?

I assume the newspaper, the School Board, the School District and those carefully schooled “Vote Yes for the School Bond” people will now start screaming and lamenting how awful and insensitive a person I am. Well, go right ahead! And after all of your spinning and misdirection, take yourselves out to Oak Park and explain to the residents what wonderful, caring people you are.  Good Luck and Have a Nice Time!

Oh by the way, before you folks start that whining and yelling and lamenting, just make sure you have hard, concrete evidence that “proves” anything I have written above is not true or accurate. Again, Good Luck!

Joel Rabin
Bartlesville Ward 4 resident;
Supporter of the “VOTE NO Campaign” on the August 23rd School Bond”; 
Candidate for the Bartlesville City Council’s Ward 4 seat
***Reprint of original article referenced removed at the request of the EE***

PLEASE NOTE: August 10, 2016 . . . I have just been advised by the Editor of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise (E-E) newspaper that I do not have permission from the paper to reprint below the E-E’s August 7th article, “Unique culture helps Wilson students excel”.   I am therefore required to remove the reprinting of it from my Facebook Page.  However, I have also been advised by the E-E’s Editor that I am permitted to show the link to the newspaper’s article. Therefore, here is the link:
http://www.examiner-enterprise.com/news

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