By a narrow, but predictable, vote the State Board of Education fired Commissioner Margie Vandeven Friday. This is the first time a sitting Commissioner has been fired which may be unprecedented but not disallowed procedurally. According to the state Constitution, the governor gets to appoint members of the State Board of Education with the advice and counsel of the Senate. The Board, in turn gets to approve the Commissioner of Education and may, according to RsMO 161.112 “remove the commissioner at its discretion.”
There was much gnashing of teeth by superintendents around the state and the board members who voted against her dismissal. Letters like this from Superintendent of Rockwood Knost came out in support of Vandeven. I cannot resist pointing out to Knost that if he himself was able to practice close reading and citing examples from the text as our students are required under Common Core, which he also supported, he would note that nowhere in the state constitution Article IX does it say that the Board is “supposed to be independent and non-political.” All it says is that at no time may there be more members of one political party than the other. That is balanced, not non-political or independent.
With regard to Vandeven’s firing, board member Mike Jones was quoted in the Missouri Times as saying , “The goose was cooked before we ever sat down. We have forfeited our legitimacy as a board.”
“There was an opportunity to take advantage of everyone heading in the right direction, and we missed that opportunity today,” said Board President Charlie Shields[…]
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