The Latest: Governor Breaks Silence On Education Official

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says a failed attempt to remove the state’s top education official helps “insiders and bureaucrats” but fails students, families and teachers.

Greitens’ statement came after the State Board of Education split 4-4 Tuesday on a vote to fire Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

The failed vote was the latest in months of effort by Greitens to oust Vandeven, but he has not said specifically why he wants her out. His Tuesday statement didn’t name her and included general criticisms about education in the state, including some decisions out of Vandeven’s control.

For example, Greitens says school administrators are paid too much and teachers are paid too little. Those decisions are made by local school boards and not Vandeven or the education department.

Vandeven has received some bipartisan praise from lawmakers and wide support from state education groups.

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Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven says she’s looking forward to attention returning to children’s education following a failed attempt to remove her.

Vandeven’s statement came shortly after State Board of Education members voted 4-4 Tuesday on the question of ousting her. Five votes were needed to fire her.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has been pushing for her removal, although he hasn’t elaborated on why. He’s filled five seats on the eight-member board with his appointees, the majority needed to vote the commissioner out.

But the Tuesday attempt to remove her backfired. One of Greitens’ appointees, Claudia Onate Greim, voted against it. All four of Greitens’ other appointees voted in favor of it, and the three board members appointed previously had supported Vandeven.

Greitens’ spokesman, Parker Briden, didn’t immediately respond to Associated Press requests for comment Tuesday.

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