The Kansas City Star has thrown every negative descriptor in the thesaurus in Gov. Eric Greitens’ direction, and the Missouri Governor continues to sidestep and ignore the KC daily.
Most recently, the Star reports, a board filled with mostly Greitens appointees ousted Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven. In news coverage, the Star reported “spent months trying to fulfill his goal” of removing Vandeven.
“On Friday, he finally got his wish,” a Star story intones.
Greitens’ appointees comprised five of the eight positions on the board, which voted 5-3 on Dec. 1 to relieve Vandeven of her role as commissioner. According to the Star’s editorial board, Greitens bullied his way into the firing.
A dead even board voted 4-4 against firing Vandeven a few weeks ago. As a result, one commissioner, Claudia Onate Greim, resigned. She cited concerns about the process of changing leadership in her resignation letter and didn’t take calls from media in the aftermath. That, in Star editorial board parlance, was somehow the result of Greitens’ bullying. The Governor appointed her replacement and an hour later, a divided board ousted the education commissioner.
Calling it a win for kids, parents, and teachers, Greitens issued a lengthy statement following Vandeven’s firing. It doesn’t look like the Star editorial board bothered to read it. The editorial reads, “What was so wrong with how Vandeven and the other board members have performed their duties.”
The Governor explained in his statement that from 2009 to 2015, Missouri’s fourth graders dropped from 18th to 28th in reading, and the eight graders dropped from 23rd to 32nd in math.
“According to ACT testing, three out of every four kids who graduate from Missouri high schools aren’t ready for college,” Greitens’ statement says. “These problems have gone on too long. We’re demanding better.”
The Star writers, however, accuse Greitens of removing Vandeven because he received political donations from school choice advocates. Readers can be pardoned for wondering what one has to do with the other. For his part, the Governor said his focus was students and educational outcomes.
“I support public education,” his statement reads. “We added $64,000,000 in the budget for public schools…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.”
The Star’s editorial admits that the Governor is allowed to make appointments to Missouri boards and replace the education commissioner, but they write the debacle is “a sad statement on Greitens’ disrespect for process” and for the voters of Missouri.
Perhaps the Star missed the memo: Voters put Greitens in office. He won a majority of the votes in all but four Missouri counties, notching a 5-point win over Democratic challenger Chris Koster.