Missouri Governor Struggles to Oust State Education Chief

By Daarel Burnette II — November 22, 2017 1 min read
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Missouri’s Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is having a difficult time ousting state education chief Margie Vandeven.

Vandeven is appointed by the state board of education and the state’s board members are appointed by the governor. Greitens has so far appointed five of the eight school board members.

One of the Greitens-appointed board members, Melissa Gelner, changed positions in July, saying she no longer thought it was necessary to fire Vandeven. Greitens removed her from the board, an action the state’s Democrats say is illegal, according to local reports.

A vote yesterday on whether to dismiss Vandeven landed in a 4-4 tie, meaning Vandeven will stay on.

The state’s Democrats say Gov. Greitens wants to bring in a state chief who is more supportive of school choice policies.

But Vandeven has received broad support from school administrators and teachers, many who showed up to yesterday’s contentious meeting.

Vandeven, who has been in office since 2014, has been criticized by several in the state for stagnant test scores.

Several state chiefs in recent months have been ousted by recently elected governors. The average tenure of state chiefs is two years.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.