herschendHJR74 will be heard in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee on Monday April 7, @ 9:00 p.m. (or upon adjournment of the house session).

HJR74 (and the accompanying HB1818 for statutory language) would place an initiative on the November statewide ballot to change the Missouri’s constitutional language describing the organization and function of the State Board of Education. Currently, education is administered entirely by the Executive Branch. SBE members are appointed by the governor and serve at his leisure for 8 year terms. There are no term limits.

You can sign a witness form here: http://www.libertytools.org/LibertyTools/witness/witness2.php?template=48

Our current Board President, Peter Herschend, has served for 22 years. In that time the Board has  allowed DESE to ignore the input of our higher ed math experts and produce math standards that Fordham rated a D. They have allowed the work of 400 educational professionals from higher ed and k-12 (Curriculum Alignment Initiative) who developed high school competencies for entrance into any Missouri college (public/private), be shelved in favor of an unwritten set of k-12 standards known as common core. They have assisted in the development and implementation of a statewide student data tracking system (MOSIS) and are actively working to expand that system to track students from pre-k through to the workforce. When presented with the concerns about the origins and statutory violations that occurred with the adoption of common core, Herschend ,in particular, said that he was not so concerned about those matters as he was just knowing that we had high quality standards. These folks are unaccountable to the public and apparently unconcerned with following the law.

Education is becoming a top down driven system and there is no representation for the public at the top of this system. This bill would make these 8 board positions elected, one from each of the eight congressional districts. The public would have the right to petition for a recall of elected members. Members would serve for a term of 4 years, with a maximum of 2 terms. The bill contains official ballot language guaranteeing that such language could not be open to interpretation of the Secretary of State.

Ballot Language:

“Shall the Constitution of Missouri be amended to require that, beginning with the 2016 general election, the members of the state board of education be elected by the people rather than appointed, that board members are subject to recall by petition and majority vote, and that vacancies be filled by election within ninety days?”

There are other states similarly organized. Missouri would by no means be breaking new ground in this switch.

State boards of ed

With such short notice we are trying to get the word out to folks to voice their opinion on this bill.  Please consider signing a witness form here http://www.libertytools.org/LibertyTools/witness/witness2.php?template=48

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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