NEWS RELEASE: Teachers Urge Open, Transparent, and Inclusive Process in Hiring of Commissioner of Education


From the Missouri National Education Association
1810 E. Elm St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

For further information: 
Mark Jones, Missouri NEA Political Director
(573) 634-3202,

Oct. 22, 2014

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri NEA President Charles E. Smith, an English teacher on leave from the Center School District and President of Missouri NEA, sent a letter to the Missouri State Board of Education today urging an open, transparent and inclusive process in the selection of the next Commissioner of Education.


“Rather than make the selection process of the new Commissioner a closed-door process,” writes Charles E. Smith, “I ask for serious consideration of an open and transparent approach that includes other stakeholders in the education community.”


Smith’s letter also highlights a recent audit of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that found “conflicts of interest” and “favorable treatment” in the awarding of contracts. “The audit demonstrates a need for strong oversight of how DESE awards contracts. I am hopeful that the next Commissioner will not be a person who was involved in the bidding process of the tainted contract,” writes Smith.


Noting the lack of diversity at DESE, the letter asks the State Board to use the hiring of a new commissioner as an opportunity to bring new perspectives to the department’s senior management, I hope the State Board of Education will work to appoint leadership that reflects the diversity of the districts with which DESE is most engaged. This approach could open pathways to shared understanding for the communities involved, shed some new light on a complicated situation and perhaps change the conversation with students, families and educators in the struggling districts.”

    Letter to the Missouri State Board of Education

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. 


Posted Date: 10/22/2014
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