SPS Superintendent Issues Statement Following Firing of MO Education Commissioner

Dec 1, 2017

SPS Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann
Credit SPS

Following the Board of Education’s vote to fire Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven, Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann called Friday “A Sad Day for Education.”

In a statement Jungmann said he fears that what has been lost today “is the essential trust necessary to move our system forward effectively.”  According to Jungmann, the actions today “do not represent how independent board should function.”  Jungmann also said he’s, “appalled by the governor’s actions to stack the Missouri Board of Education through the removal of members who refuse to vote the way he desires.”

Below is Jungmann's statement in its entirety:

Sad day for education in MissouriThe events of the last few months have generated many emotions – for me as a parent, an educator and a school leader. Those emotions run deep through Missouri’s education community, which has remained united in opposition to today’s actions. What began as deep concern has now shifted to profound sadness.

I am sad today because I fear that what has been lost is the essential trust necessary to move our education system forward effectively. That system serves Missouri’s 900,000 public education students, and collaboration has never been more important than it is now.

Today’s actions do not represent how independent boards should function.The work to shape our children’s futures through quality public education should not be politicized in such a divisive way, yet what we have experienced is unprecedented in our state’s history.

I am appalled by the governor’s actions to stack the Missouri State Board of Education through the removal of members who refuse to vote the way he desires. The actions of our newest state board members, who voted today to fire the widely respected education commissioner, are equally disheartening. This decision has wide-ranging and long-term implications for Missouri’s children. Unfortunately for several members, that decision was made within minutes of appointment and prior to going through Senate confirmation – a process outlined by Missouri’s constitution.

With so much uncertainty ahead, here is what I know to be true and what I can guarantee:

  • The 3,500+ teachers, support staff & leaders from Springfield Public Schools, will serve our students today and every day. That is our focus – always.
  • We are called to serve our 25,000 students no matter what happens on the political landscape. That will never change.
  • Our doors remain open for Governor Greitens to visit our public schools and see first-hand the way our talented educators work in partnership with our community to meet the needs of each and every child. To date, that invitation has been ignored.
  • Our educators are not protectors of the status quo. They are champions of brighter futures and they should be celebrated.