Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hoskins on vote against teacher tenure bill: I will do the right thing for my constituents

As part of his column wrapping up the 2013 legislative session. Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, explains his courageous vote in favor of teacher tenure, a vote that caused Speaker of the House Tim Jones, to retaliate in typically petty fashion by removing Hoskins from the House Committee on Fiscal Review. Jones received $100,000 from retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield and $5,000 from Michelle Rhee's misnamed StudentsFirst, and then lambasted those who voted for teachers for caving in to special interests. Since when are a legislator's constituents considered to be special interests? In the Joplin area, representatives Bill White, R-Joplin, and Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, also stood tall against the speaker.

Teacher evaluations and tenure became a major issue during this session. I voted against HB 631 and SB 125 which would take away control from local school boards on how to best evaluate teachers. Both bills received considerable resistance, but SB 125 did pass after all the language regarding teacher evaluations was stripped from the bill. The bill now allows for the immediate state takeover of unaccredited schools and for the removal of tenured teachers in St. Louis that are deemed incompetent educators.

The Speaker of the House removed me from the House Committee on Fiscal Review for my “No” vote on SB 125. I voted “No” because I believe it represented the will of the people I was the elected to serve, the people of the 54th District. I will continue to do the right thing for my constituents, even when it may not be the easy thing to do.

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