Billionaire Attacking Teacher Rights in Missouri

A retired financial industry executive and billionaire, Rex Sinquefield, has decided again to use his own personal fortune to attack the rights of middle-class teacher’s in Missouri.  Perhaps best known for comparing public education to the KKK or attempting to remove Missouri’s income tax and replace it with a “Everything Tax” that would blow a huge hole in Missouri’s budget, Mr. Sinquefield has chosen this year as the one to remove the basic procedural work protections that are provided to teachers in Missouri.  It’s time that we stop looking to hurt employees in Missouri and start looking for ways to make working conditions better for everyone.  Mr. Sinquefield’s route is not the way.

Hit the jump for the complete news release on the proposed changes to the Missouri constitution…

Sinquefield takes second shot

at running down teachers 

Friday, billionaire extremist Rex Sinquefield’s attorney, Marc Ellinger, filed an initiative petition for a constitutional amendment to remove local control of teacher evaluation and mandate the use of state controlled standardized test scores in teacher evaluation. This marks the second time Sinquefield has launched this particular threat on teachers.

“Attacking teachers and public education is nothing new for Sinquefield, whose ongoing attacks are a clear manifestation of his hostility toward public schools,” says Missouri NEA President Chris Guinther, a teacher on leave from the Francis Howell School District. “Just last year, he referred the public school system as a conspiracy of the Ku Klux Klan. Furthermore, Sinquefield is the force behind the Everything Tax, a scheme that gives millionaires a tax break while gutting education funding.”

Sinquefield’s plan ties test scores directly to teacher evaluation and does not recognize the other factors that affect student achievement and the real issues that influence teacher quality.

“Everyone should be held accountable for student success, but specifically attacking teachers distracts from the real problems facing our schools—chronic underfunding, overcrowded classrooms and unfulfilled promises from the legislature,” Guinther says. “Sinquefield’s proposal views children as interchangeable parts in a one-size-fits-all system. Valuable instruction time will be wasted in meaningless standardized testing of every child, in every subject, for every class. Everyone agrees that every student deserves a highly skilled teacher. That’s why Missouri NEA advocates for teaching standards and a strong teacher evaluation system. This proposal does nothing to guarantee accountability or improve teaching.”

Aside from the expert opinions on why Sinquefield’s tenure proposal is a bad idea for public education, the cost alone should be reason to dismiss it. Last year, the Missouri Association of School Administrators prepared an independent analysis that determined Sinquefield’s plan could cost Missouri taxpayers more than $1 billion in the first two years.

Background:

Video of Rex Sinquefield’s KKK comments can be found here via Progress MO:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vSpyB6s3cE

The 35,000-member MNEA represents teachers, education support professionals, college faculty, retired teachers and students studying to be teachers in school districts and on college campuses throughout the state. It is the Missouri affiliate of the 3.2 million-member NEA.

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