I mentioned in the last post that I was told a PR firm was doing paid focus groups and polling on the schools here in Grandview, at which they are probably doing Push Polling, a standard method for political groups to influence public opinion. I don’t have proof this is happening with that PR firm.
I do have access to the online poll the school has created, and was a little surprised at the blatant push polling in that survey.
Out of all the options the board wants to build, the moving of the K to 3rd grade out of Stevenson and into a building on the present Middle school location seems to be mentioned the most. It is in the 3A, 3B, and 3C options. The master plan doesn’t say what will happen to the building. “Evaluate future use of Stevenson Elementary” is what they say on the option list.
The online Poll that the school wants us to fill out has a very different thing to say about Stevenson school:
“If Stevenson Elementary was converted to a community center for the city, would you favor or oppose moving the kindergarten through 3rd grade students into a new building on the high school/middle school campus?” – from the online poll.
Nobody from the city has said a word about using Stevenson as a “community center”. This is completely from the school board, used as a method of confusing the options on closing down Stevenson, a move that will be stridently opposed by all the parents on the east end of the city.
What kind of “community center” could even be built in that building? No way a Rec Center is going to fit into the many small classrooms. The auditorium is way too small for any adult ball courts or community swimming pool.
I’d like to hear one of the city council members comment on this – they have never said a word about it that I know, and I don’t think they would support closing down Stevenson (unless they are looking to get booted off the council by the voters).
(Edit – I confirmed with Council President Kearns, no one from the board has ever talked to them about a “community center” at Stevenson, no plans have been discussed by the council about any alternate use of the building.)
After some thought, I’m not sure if push polling is the correct label for what the board did. There was not even the slightest establishment of the possibility of the school building being turned into a community center. That makes it more a flat out lie from the school board, intentionally done to deceive the voters of Grandview
Keep an eye out for the push polling, I’m sure we will be exposed to all sorts of assertions in the polls that are just fantasy created by the board to manipulate public opinion on their plans.
How Push Polling works
You can read the Wiki, this is the short version. Groups that want to manipulate public opinion often use polling questions to lead the reader to think about a possible option. For example, a poll might ask respondents to rank candidates based on their support of an issue in order to get voters thinking about that issue.
There is no ongoing talk between Grandview city council and the school board that has mentioned turning the Stevenson school building into a community center. By asking a question that mentioned this option, the board is inserting the idea into the conversations about the school building process, with no factual backup.
The board was just flat out lying about the community center. They will probably try to say that they are push polling (or just deny they did anything wrong).
If the question had asked “do you support using Stevenson for some other use”, and not mentioned a community center, the question would have been more honest. It would have been an almost useless question – who would say they are in favor of “doing something at some undefined time with an undefined source of money”.