The Mythological Morrison Miracle
Third in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Expanded from the 4-22-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 4-24-2012 Dr. Morrison is in Charlotte, NC, today signing his contract to accept the superintendent position.
Updated 4-29-2012, 5-7-2012, 5-13-2012, 5-20-2012, 6-24-2012
Site map
Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

Updated 8-30-2011
Now rerunning on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

The next Washoe County school superintendent will be tarred, feathered and crucified.

He or she will be playing against a stacked deck dealt by the very outgoing Heath Morrison who is departing for the land of St. Jesse Helms but leaving us with a new gospel.

"We obviously want someone to continue the strategic plan," Ken Grein, chair of the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. (4-17-2012)

Earlier this year, Dr. M was named superintendent of the year by his professional club. He scored after manufacturing a two-touchdown increase (56 to 70 percent) in the high school graduation rate in just two years.

Alas, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, but people believe what they want to believe. The chamber of commerce needs positive press clippings.

Grein told the Associated Press last week that Morrison "has raised the bar on what the board expects from a superintendent." (Daily Sparks Tribune 4-20-2012)

The next guy will need a very well-stocked bar.

Morrison's goal for year three is one percent.


A single point. A 71 percent graduation rate.

So says, the Nevada Dept. of Education website. (Scroll down to Washoe County School District 2010-2011.)

No wonder the extroverted marshal got the hell outta Dodge City. By his own admission, his purported progress will prove unsustainable.

The RGJ's Fact Checker analysis, which rubber-stamped Morrison's assertions, brought this online comment from Susan Nunes of Medford, Oregon: "I will believe an outsider before I will believe anybody from WCSD. Of course the figures came about because they counted the students differently than previous years. I call it 'cooking the books' to make Morrison look like he was the one responsible for the higher graduation rates. Remember, it's not because students suddenly got serious about school and decided they were going to graduate; it's because the district decided to use a different 'accounting' method. Now you could argue Morrison is 'responsible' for the graduation rate going up, but it's extremely misleading to use methodology to claim you are a miracle worker. You are not going to change the transient character of much of the student body. It doesn't make sense. Eli Broad Academy people are trained to 'cook figures' to make themselves look good. This is one example of it."

Eli Broad is a Los Angeles billionaire who founded a controversial school for administrators which Morrison attended.

The District Accountability spreadsheets and summaries on the Nevada Dept. of Education website underscore Ms. Nunes' suspicions.

The Washoe graduation rate fell from 77.4 percent in 2009 to 71.9 percent in 2011.

However, a Sept. 14, 2011, WCSD press release entitled Graduation Rate Improves for Second Year in a Row states "In addition to the overall increase for WCSD, graduation rates for student sub-groups increased in nearly all instances and showed evidence of narrowing the achievement gap."

But if you believe data that WCSD filed with the Nevada Dept. of Education, Hispanic students showed a 5.1 percent decline from 2009 to 2011, as did blacks (-1.7), American Indians/Alaska Natives (-5.1) and whites (-3.1). The overall graduation rate dipped by 5.4 points to 71.9 percent. (, Washoe County, 2008-—>page 27, 2009-—>page 26, 2010-—>page 24.)

Page 47 of the WCSD 2011 Data Summit report insists that the "graduation rate for student population" went from 56 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2011; American Indians/Alaska Natives 44/50/49; Hispanic 40/45/55; Black 42/50/54; White 63/73/78.

"The data represents (sic) the four-year cohort rate, which calculates the graduation rate based on following students who started ninth grade in 2008 and who graduated four years later in 2011," the 14 Sept. 2011 press release states.

"This comes after a four-year period (2006-2009) when the graduation rate remained stagnant between 55 and 57 percent," the press statement continues.

So do we have one set of books using percentages of actual seniors who graduated and another "cohort" set reporting the percentage of ninth-graders who made it through four years?

If so, how can the Morrison cohort rate go up when the senior class rate has dwindled three years in row, even for whites?

The district needs to disaggregate the data and start over to present the taxpayers with a clear picture rather than keep two sets of books.

I've seen this show before. Meredith Willson wrote the script in his Broadway hit The Music Man.

Supersalesman and con artist Prof. Harold Hill invents a new problem, "the presence of a pool table in your community," then proceeds to solve it by selling the residents of River City a non-existent marching band to "keep the young ones moral after school."

Dr. Morrison "became an imaginative accountant instead of a superintendent," Stead resident Bob Hellen commented at the RGJ Facebook page.

The Music Man has left town and we've still got trouble right here in River City no matter which set of stats you believe.

A one percent solution is no solution at all.

Update 4-24-2012 Dr. Morrison is in Charlotte, NC, today signing his contract to accept the superintendent position.

WMD DEPT. This Wednesday, April 25, Nevada will remember workers killed and injured on the job as local unions take part in national Workers Memorial Day. Among other things, speakers will highlight the Silver State's abominable safety enforcement due to (surprise, surprise!) underfunding. The gathering happens at 4:30 p.m. at the Victorian Square Amphitheater in downtown Sparks.

This year's WMD commemoration will be held at 4:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, April 25, at the Victorian Square Amphitheater in downtown Sparks, Nevada. Stay tuned to the Barbwire and tell a friend.

Past commemoration of friends lost

If you want to participate, contact the chairman of the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council's WMD Committee.



SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT to re-establish a people's channel hereabouts. You may donate at donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me, especially if you think great issues like the above demand extensive and rational discussion.

The Barbwire TV show is still in reruns. Check the expanded web edition of this column at

Help give the gift of non-corporate TV to your community. We are making progress toward returning a citizens station to these parts. Your support is both needed and appreciated.

Thank you.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

The above column is third in a current series on the collapsing future of Nevada education —>

We don't need no education

We Don't Need No Education, Part VIII
th in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-24-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Morrison & Maurins: M&M's hard to swallow
Seventh in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-20-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

All that's missing is an enemies list
Sixth in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-13-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Playing Dixieland - The shell game continues
Fifth in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Abandon hope, all ye who enter college
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-29-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The marshal is getting outta Dodge
So much for Nevada education's strategic plan + 4/25 Workers Memorial Day commemoration
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-15-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Breaking our own backs: If you have kids, move elsewhere
Have teachers made a deal with the devil? / St. Mary's firings begin
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-8-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Blast from the past: SUING FOR SCHOOLS
Barbwire 2-21-2010 / Updated 8-30-2011
Click here to view on demand plus other programs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

...and more ammo...

Proper Education vs. Public Relations
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 4-26-2012

David Brooks, Diane Ravitch and the education wars
John Merrow / LearningMatters.TV / 7-6-2011

Gates, Broad: Who is running Americaís schools and are they running them aground?
Maureen Downey / Atlanta Journal-Constitution / 5-9-2011
"Interesting Charlotte Observer story this weekend on whether the schools there are under the control of philanthropist Eli Broad, whose foundation, the Broad Foundation, has given Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools almost $3.3 million in recent years. (Broad has been a big funder in Georgia as well, and recognized Gwinnett last year with its highly coveted prize for being the nationís top urban district.)..."

Who's the power behind Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools?
If you follow the money, you'll find the Broad Foundation. And skeptics are questioning its clout.
Ann Doss Helms / Charlotte Observer / 5-8-2011

The Broad Report
Make no mistake, "what is happening in large urban districts today has been carefully orchestrated by vulture philanthropists." — Susan Ohanian

How to tell if your school district is infected by the Broad virus
Seattle Education / 4-19-2011

Why Charlotte-Mecklenburg parents should sue Peter Gorman and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board
Schools Matter / 4-4-2011

Demonizing Public Education
Diane Ravitch / Education Week 10-26-2010

Ms. Ravitch reviewed the film Waiting for Superman for the New York Review of Books

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

The winning entries
Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck

Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo yet

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site | In Search Of...


Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins