That is the message R-5 Superintendent Richard Page gave to Joplin Globe reporter in an article posted today:
"We will support their (the lawmakers') stance," Page said. "We need to have a strong front."
Page makes it clear that he is opposed to Ms. Whitmore-Smith, as do other area educators questioned by Ms. Greer, but if he and R-5 board members expect area legislators to buck the governor (and their own campaign contributors), they may be in for a rude awakening.
Though I cannot recall Rep. Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, receiving any contributions from groups supporting educational vouchers, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, has. Across the area, Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, and Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, have all accepted campaign contributions from All Children Matter, one of the nation's leading voucher proponents.
Hunter, in fact, was handpicked by Speaker of the House Rod Jetton to be a member of the Special Committee for School Choice (school choice is the politically palatable euphemism for vouchers).
In the Globe article, Carl Junction Superintendent Phil Cook indicates he was "pleased" after talking to Sen. Nodler.
"He wants to do what is best for public education," Cook said.Cook may be in for a rude awakening on this one.
As for the Globe's coverage of the appointment of Ms. Whitmore-Smith, as far as I can recall this is the first locally written article that has even mentioned it and there is not much digging into her background, though there is plenty of information on the public background.
Ms. Whitmore-Smith has made many statements that do nothing to disguise her contempt for public education and her unwavering support of vouchers.
There is also no examination of her Ptah Academy, which seemed to stand for a lot of new age philosophy that would normally be anathema to those who most vigorously support her appointment. Apparently, her support for vouchers is the only thing that counts with Governor Matt Blunt, who owes a great debt to All Children Matter for the $200,000 in attack ads against State Auditor Claire McCaskill the organization bought in the waning days of the 2004 governor's race.