Debate is scheduled to begin this week in the Missouri Senate on another of Sen. Jane Cunningham's anti-public education bills.
Just as she did (unsuccessfully) during the 2011 session, Mrs. Cunningham is trying to bring an end to teacher tenure. She continues to foster this myth that Missouri's public schools are filled with teachers who have no ability but cannot be fired because they have tenure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, tenure is more difficult to obtain in Missouri than in most other states. In the Show-Me State, a teacher has to have taught five years in the same school district to receive tenure on the first day of the sixth year.
Bad teachers rarely make it that far. They are either shown the door or they decide on their own that teaching is not the proper profession for them.
Mrs. Cunningham also props up the myth that you cannot fire a teacher who has tenure. All tenure does in Missouri is give you a right to hearing and due process. It does not take months or years; generally, it is accomplished in a matter of weeks.
During the whole time Mrs. Cunningham has been pushing her anti-public school, anti-teacher legislation (and this has just been one example, there are dozens more), she has also indicted teachers for whining about tenure, saying that "good teachers" have nothing to worry about if tenure is eliminated.
Now thanks to the redistricting commission appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a threat has been made to Sen. Jane Cunningham's tenure, and apparently either she doesn't really believe what she has been saying about the good not having to worry about their jobs, or she knows she is not good enough to hold onto hers without some institutional support.
The redistricting commission has forced Sen. Cunningham into a situation where she either has to change districts to run for re-election, or she has to sit out two years and face incumbent Brian Nieves.
If Jane Cunningham had just lived up to her words on teacher tenure, kept her mouth shut and accepted her fate, I wouldn't have anything to write about. Thankfully, Mrs. Cunningham decided to face her fate with her head up ... and mouth open ... so everyone could hear her whining hundreds of miles away.
In an unsuccessful effort to make it appear as though a naturally-forming grass roots effort was underway to save her seat, Mrs. Cunningham sent an e-mail, asking her supporters to lobby the redistricting commission:
On Thursday, the 10 commissioners drawing the new senate maps shocked everyone with the map they presented. Many think it is the GOP trying to rid the ranks of the conservatives. One Democrat colleague commented to me, "What did your commissioners get promised to betray Republicans like they did. We would never put up with that treatment from Democrats."
They wiped out my district altogether and put it in the middle of KC. Since my district is up for election this year, it will pull out the Democrat vote in KC for Obama, McCaskill, Nixon and all the statewide Dems. It will also give the Dems another senator in the senate right away and take out a Republican conservative. They made Sen. Lembke's district almost unwinable.
The present map energizes voters in Democrat areas during presidential years and decimates the St. Louis area representation (one sure senate district rather than the present four) and therefore the donor base for all of us.
As Senator Luann Ridgeway pointed out, she and I are the only Republican women in the senate of 26 Republicans. She is termed out this year leaving me as the only woman left. Now they have taken me out leaving no assurance there will even be one Republican woman left in the Senate when they so desperately need to "sell" our party to women.
The commission that drew this map was made up of 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans. It is a dream map for Democrats and all but one Republican, Steve Ehlmann, voted with the Dems for the map.
PLEASE CONTACT ALL THE COMMISSIONERS BELOW. Our goal is to get four of these Republican Commissioners to vote 'no' on their final vote for the map. I believe that vote will take place on March 9th after this 15 day period to comment. If they vote 'no', we have a chance to get back to the acceptable and court approved "appellate map 2". Most feel that if they don't go for that, no judge could give us anything worse for the party than what we have. Also shore up Ehlmann. Don't assume he will stay a 'no'.
I have also added Lloyd Smith's contact information because he is the executive director for the MO Republican Party and he selected these guys. Notice there are no women.
At that point, she lists all of the commissioners, their phone numbers, and email addresses and provides information about them. She concludes the message in this way:
Please forward this information around, although probably better without my name. The commissioners need to hear the views of Missourians to this travesty. (Italics added)
"Probably better without my name." What better words to describe a Missouri Senate with no Jane Cunningham?