Draining the Swamp – Common Core Implementor Margie Vandeven Ousted by Conservative Governor

In December 2014, Margie Vandeven was selected as the Missouri Education Commissioner, the top position at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), a position that “employs about 1700 people throughout the state and has a budget of about $5.4 billion.” Prior to that appointment, Vandeven served as Missouri’s Deputy Education Commissioner, so she didn’t have far to move her office.

How did Margie Vandeven beat out four other finalists? Perhaps it was Margie’s vision that got her the job: among other things was the implementation of Common Core learning standards in Missouri.

If Margie was such a stellar pick in 2014, why was she fired December 1, 2017? Was it because of her zealous embrace of Common Core learning standards? Was it because she did not support parental input into their child’s education? Was it due to lack of transparency when test scores didn’t produce the expected outcome?

Or was it simply because Governor Greitens was using the authority of his office to remove an establishment educator: Margie Vandeven?

Was the Missouri School Board Association aware of Margie Vandeven’s strong ties to Common Core and hired her, effectively snubbing the growing opposition to Common Core? A timeline of events is below.

  • As an example on opposition to Common Core, on August 22, 2014 the Huffington Post published an article in which they explained that of the 45 states that initially adopted Common Core, five had begun repealing Common Core Curriculum Standards and the momentum of opposition was growing quickly.
  • In September 2014 ,  the Thomas More Society files a lawsuit on behalf of concerned Missouri residents and taxpayers against Common Core related to the Compact Clause of the US Constitution. In July 2015, they present an Amicus Brief.
  • On December 16, 2014, despite the growing opposition to Common Core, the Missouri School Board Association selected Vandeven out of 40 applications.
  • Just 6 weeks after Vandeven began her promotion at DESE (February 15, 2015), the Missouri Court of Appeals agrees that Common Core standards and testing materials is unconstitutional. Governor Nixon spends more taxpayer funds to appeal up to the Supreme Court but loses that appeal.
  • In November 2015, Common Core is effectively outlawed with a mandate to create new Missouri State Standards that were not Common Core.

The heart of these concerns: 

(1) push of an extreme leftist liberal agenda in the curriculum,

(2) very low standard of academic expectations,

(3) privacy concerns related to children’s testing data

(4) stripping of parental rights as an overriding issue as well as other issues.

What was Vandeven’s reaction? Are they ready to work with parents, parent groups and other stakeholders? Ready to listen to their concerns and make the proper adjustments? Not at all. Vandeven and Governor Nixon stacked the HB1490 ELA 6-12 Work Group with educational elitists who vilified, marginalized and outright excluded the input of non-education stakeholders in the work group as well as nationally recognized field experts such as Dr. Sandra Stotsky. These were the shenanigans taking place August of 2015. For the full story with details, click here.

What does this have to do with the Missouri Board of Education firing Vandeven or with local school district problems?

 

  • Both Margie Vandeven and all Parkway upper level administration (Keith Marty, Chelsea Watson, Lisa Meredith) supported Common Core. Check this list to see if you recognize individuals or school districts on this February 2014 list.
  • Margie Vandeven and Keith Marty both presided over systems whose assessment outcomes were falling instead of increasing.
  • Margie Vandeven and Keith Marty both presided over a system that overlooks the parental voice. When Common Core had been deemed unlawful and a rewrite of Missouri standards was mandated, the committee was stacked (by Vandeven) against parents’ voice at the table.
  • Keith Marty had a $7,000 raise in 2012 earning Parkway’s top 5 paid administrators the title of better paid that Rockwood’s top 5 while Parkway District teacher salaries stagnated at 2%.  This top-heavy administration produces social engineering, elitism and the expulsion of parents into the learning process for their child.
  • Parental input into the direction of their children’s education continues to diminish while frustration across multiple demographic groups grows beginning with academic remedial specialists being stripped from schools. Other frustrations include Late Start Wednesdays2018 graduation date hastily moved during the school year with no regard for Jewish Students and their religious observances, agenda-thick math, science, history and English Language Arts lessons with obfuscating by administrators, refusing to fully cooperate with Sunshine Requests, and many others.

Everyday citizens voted November 2016 to “drain the federal swamp” of politicians who cared more about securing the Establishment mentality that shuts diversity out of the creative process.  But it seems there is more swamp draining that needs to be accomplished. The good work began with Margie Vandeven and her Common Core Cause-Celebre dethroned. In the weeks following, it is very likely other corrupt individuals and systems will be forced to clean up its own act.

It seems the Public Education System needs some help.

 

 

 

 

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