Update: State Board to Meet to Discuss Personnel, Nov. 21, 2017
State Board Calls Special Meeting to Discuss Personnel: November 21 (This date is tentative.)
As was reported yesterday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, three of the five newly appointed State Board of Education members (Claudia Greim, Doug Russell, & Eddie Justice) have requested a special meeting of the Board for Tuesday, November 21, to discuss the hiring and firing of Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) personnel.
During this meeting, while not certain, it is expected that the board will consider the position of our current Commissioner of Education, Margie Vandeven. These latest developments follow events late this summer when State Board Member Melissa Gelner's appointment was withdrawn from the Board for her refusal to go along with the Governor’s goal of removing Commissioner Vandeven.
We are extremely concerned about the apparent politicization of the State Board of Education and the interference into the Board’s independence that appears to be occurring on the part of the Governor.
Among other things, this move could also signify a change in direction regarding the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP). Last month, efforts to move forward with the rule-making process for MSIP 6 were delayed after concerns were raised by newly appointed board members. A change in leadership at DESE could mean that the nearly two years of work the department and education community has endured in the development of MSIP 6 could also be at risk.
Finally, five of the eight members of the State Board of Education have been on the Board for less than four months, and two of those Board members have been on the Board for less than two weeks. These appointments are subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate and none of the five new board members can be confirmed until the Senate reconvenes in January. It is extremely troubling that some board members, despite not having a full grasp of the issues, not having the time to get to know our current commissioner, and without the confirmation of the Missouri Senate, would make such a drastic change in the department.
This is a developing situation and we are watching it closely. We will keep members informed. Over the next few days, administrators should ensure that your employees, boards, and communities, including your local media, are aware of the situation. In addition, members may also want to contact State Board of Education Members and your local legislators.
Below we have linked recent news articles that can be shared to highlight the developments.
If you have any further questions or would like to discuss this matter, please contact us at (573) 638-4825.
Below is the contact information for the State Board of Education. As you know, there is a tentative meeting scheduled for November 21 to discussion the commissioner position.