Community Forum

MSBE, Commissioner holds forum in Poplar Bluff
Posted on 08/20/2019
Accompanied by MSBE members Kimberly Bailey, Carol Hallquist and Mary Schrag, Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven leads a discussion with stakeholders.

The commissioner and members of the Missouri State Board of Education recently held their first community forum at Poplar Bluff High School in an effort to seek input from stakeholders of the 8th Congressional District and prioritize issues facing educators. 

Approximately 70 area school officials, students, current and former legislators, and community leaders gathered on Monday, Aug. 5, to discuss topics that included high-quality early childhood education, teacher recruitment and retention, mental health services, and workforce development. 

“The state has a tremendous opportunity but also a tremendous responsibility, and it cannot just be solved by educators,” stated Dr. Margie Vandeven, commissioner for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She quoted former United States secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, saying: “No one can do more harm to America than America can do to itself if we don’t educate our children.” 

MSBE member Mary Schrag, who represents the 8th District, explained that the goal of the regional meetings, while lofty, is to become a “top tier education system in the United States.” The West Plains medical professional said she chose Poplar Bluff to kick off the series of forums due to her previous work serving together with R-I Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill on the Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development board. 

“In over two decades in public education, I’ve been told what to do by DESE, but never been asked what we should do, so I would like to commend the commissioner and state board for walking the talk,” Dill commented during the Q&A portion of the forum. “It means a lot to us.” 

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Cutline: Accompanied by MSBE members (left to right) Kimberly Bailey, Carol Hallquist and Mary Schrag, Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven leads a discussion with regional stakeholders about the current state of public education.

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