Greitens appoints another new education board member - KCTV5

Greitens releases statement after Missouri education commissioner is ousted

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Greitens in a Friday statement said the change is aimed at making it easier for teenagers in foster care to get records needed to apply for a driver's license and jobs. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Greitens in a Friday statement said the change is aimed at making it easier for teenagers in foster care to get records needed to apply for a driver's license and jobs. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -

The Missouri State Board of Education has voted to oust Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven, hours after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens appointed a new member to the board.

Greitens has been trying to get a majority of board members to fire Vandeven, but the attempt failed on a 4-4 tie vote last week when another Greitens appointee, Claudia Onate Greim, broke ranks and voted to keep Vandeven.

Greim resigned Thursday and Greitens appointed Eric Teeman of Raytown. The board voted 5-3 Friday to remove Vandeven.

Teeman is a former Raytown alderman and owner of Visiting Angels, a care provider for seniors.

On Friday afternoon, Greitens released the following statement:

"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.

Our teachers need a raise. If they just got paid at the national average, they'd make nearly $10,000 more a year. Meanwhile, we've got more administrators than most of the country, and their pay is rising more than twice as fast as teacher pay. Some make big bucks—more than $250,000 a year—while too many teachers struggle to get by.

And from 2009 to 2015, Missouri fell from 18th to 28th in fourth-grade reading and from 23rd to 32nd in eighth-grade math. According to ACT testing, three out of every four kids who graduate from Missouri high schools aren't ready for college.

These problems have gone on too long. We're demanding better. Because our teachers deserve it. Because our students deserve it.

I support public education. We added $64,000,000 in the budget for public schools. More money than ever before is being spent on education. We fully funded the system for the first time in years.

The bureaucrats took your money. Teachers didn't get a raise. Juniors in high school had the ACT cut.

The bureaucrats had their chance. They failed our kids.

Defenders of the status quo have been nasty. They harass, call names, and intimidate. Many of them have big salaries that they don't want to lose, and records they don't want to be held accountable for.

Well, today things have changed: Kids come first."

Margie Vandeven? also released a statement: 

I’m an educator, a teacher. Like most Missouri teachers, I focus on students. Unlike most of them, I’ve been able to focus on all 918,000 of our students as Commissioner of Education.

It has been an opportunity that I will forever cherish.

The job of commissioner in Missouri is traditionally not a political role. But, at the moment, political forces are eclipsing educational decisions.  Although I did not come to Jefferson City to engage in political fights, I am willing to fight for children and educators.

I began work in the state education department about a dozen years ago. In those early years I learned much about diversity of our state and the diversity of our schools. I became Commissioner to help teachers be more effective, to make schools stronger. And, while we have plenty of room for improvement, today in Missouri, teachers are more effective, schools are stronger.

Public education matters. Every child matters; rich or poor, urban, suburban or rural; those who easily excel and those who have disabilities. If we operate strong public schools, we produce a stronger Missouri; a state with higher achievement, with more talented workers, with better neighbors and with lower crime.

Missouri is my home; it is a great state because it has amazing, compassionate people. And our schools are the soul of our state.

I’m proud of the thousands of Missourians – educators, community leaders, parents, legislators – who have come together in the past few weeks in support of public education and Missouri’s children. Your voices were heard.

If you visit schools across the state as I have, you’ll see teachers enthusiastically challenging the status quo and finding innovative ways to help students learn. In the past few years, we’ve had strong debates as Missouri set rigorous standards for learning, built new tests to measure progress, set stronger requirements for teachers and held one another accountable for results.

I’ve also witnessed our school communities mourn the deaths of students or teachers, watched them rebuild after tornadoes and floods or feed hungry families. Our resiliency inspires me.

While I’m sad to leave a job I wasn’t ready to leave, I know Missouri will stay strong in its commitment to our children.

I want to thank the state board for its vision for students. I certainly want to thank my tireless colleagues at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. You worked every day for students and you had my back.

I met and worked with thousands of people across the state and beyond. You taught me, inspired me and worked so very hard for students in your communities. Thank you.

I am proud of what we collectively have achieved. I’m leaving the office in good shape so the next commissioner can achieve even more for Missouri students.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. KCTV5 News contributed to this report.

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