Rex Sinquefield spoke at Lindenwood University on Thursday evening. He addressed his tax proposal, among other things, including his view of tenure, and then, at 2:42 in the video (via Progress Missouri):
Rex Sinquefield ($): ….You know what, there was a column written and, I hope I don’t offend anyone. It was a published column by a man named Ralph Voss who was a former judge in Missouri. He now owns and writes for a newspaper in Central Missouri called the Unterrified Democrat, what a name, and it’s in Osage County, Missouri. And he starts off, and something like this, he said a long time ago, decades ago, the Ku Klux Klan got together and said, how can we really hurt the African American children, permanently, how can we ruin their lives? And what they designed was the public school system [audience laughter]
Question: When was the last time you were in a public school and talked to a public school teacher?
Rex Sinquefield ($): Uh, I was in the Innovative Concept Academy just recently in St. Louis and got tours of [crosstalk][voice: “Public school.”]…
Question: That’s not a public school.
Rex Sinquefield ($): Yes it is. It’s an independent public school funded by the St. Louis, uh, public school system. I haven’t been in, maybe I’ve been in [inaudible]
There are a lot of public school systems across Missouri and America.
With cooperation from the St. Louis Public School District, Juvenile Court Judge Jimmie Edwards has opened a new school to specifically address the needs of troubled students. This concept school will be based at Blewett Middle, which was slated to be closed in June of 2009 as part of the district’s reorganization plan.
While the school district will provide teachers, transportation and building maintenance, the Juvenile Court will provide supervision, support services and will line up community partners. MERS Goodwill has agreed to help with building management…
* Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield
Missouri NEA issued a press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 10, 2012
Teacher group demands an apology and calls on elected officials to condemn his remarks.
(Jefferson City, MO) – President Chris Guinther of the Missouri NEA, the largest teacher organization in the state representing over 35,000 teachers and education support professionals, condemned comments made by billionaire Rex Sinquefield who called public schools a conspiracy created by the Ku Klux Klan.
Sinquefield made the offensive comparison while discussing his unpopular “Everything-Tax” proposal at Lindenwood University in St. Charles late Thursday night. Specifically Sinquefield is quoted as saying:
“…a long time ago, decades ago, the Ku Klux Klan got together and said, ‘how can we really hurt the African American children permanently? How can we ruin their lives? And what they designed was the public school system….’ ”
President Chris Guinther, a teacher on leave from the Francis Howell School District, of the Missouri NEA condemned Sinquefield’s remarks and issued the following statement:
“To call the work of educators in public schools a KKK conspiracy shows how out of touch billionaire Rex Sinquefield truly is. This is a slap in the face of every educator who has worked tirelessly in a public school to improve the lives of Missouri’s children. Rex Sinquefield needs to explain himself and apologize to all students, parents and Missourians.”
Sinquefield, the largest political contributor in the state of Missouri, has donated millions of dollars to advance right-wing causes and elect politicians across the state.
Guinther continued her remarks by calling on those who have accepted Sinquefield’s support to make a choice,
“Every politician that has accepted contributions from Rex Sinquefield has a choice to make today – stand with an out-of-touch billionaire or stand with your public school kids, parents, educators and your communities.”
Video of the offensive comment was captured by Progress Missouri and was posted to YouTube. It is available here http://youtu.be/-vSpyB6s3cE with the KKK quote beginning at the 0:40 second mark.
The 35,000-member MNEA represents teachers, education support professionals, college faculty, retired teachers and students studying to be teachers in school districts and on college campuses throughout the state. It is the Missouri affiliate of the 3.2 million-member NEA.