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December 1, 2017

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On Second Try, Mo. State School Board Fires Commissioner Vandeven

Fired Mo. Education Commissioner Margie VandevenThe Missouri State Board of Education voted 5-3 today to immediately fire Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.

Vandeven's release was the culmination of months of rollercoaster political maneuvering by Gov. Eric Greitens in an arena where politics is supposed to have no place.  Five people whom Greitens appointed to the board since August, including one appointed just yesterday, voted to remove Vandeven. All of the newly appointed board members still must be confirmed by the Senate when it reconvenes in January.  

Observers believe Greitens favors an Atlanta-based charter school proponent for the Missouri commissioner's job. He has yet to explain in detail his dissatisfaction with Vandeven's performance.

Mo. Gov. Eric GreitensGreitens office issued a statement, reading, in part:  "Today, kids, teachers, and families won. The State Board of Education voted for new leadership for our school system. That's a major step in the right direction as we work to improve public education in Missouri. We need to raise teacher pay, support public schools, and help students succeed. We need to make sure that the money Missourians spend on schools gets out of the bureaucracy and into the classroom."

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Missouri ranks 40th in the nation in pay for teachers, and 48th for starting teacher pay. The solution to that problem doesn't lie with the commissioner of education, who has no responsibility toward teacher pay.

"Missouri education should not be manipulated by a political agenda and our state board must be free to establish policy and make employment decisions that are best for the nearly one million Missouri public school students," said Maplewood Richmond Heights School Board President Katie Kaufman.  "All board members must consider what is in the long term best interest of our state's children, not be beholden to Governor Greitens' agenda."

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.