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Springfield Schools Superintendent Meets with School Choice Advocate

The Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools recently met with the man many consider to be THE driving force to bring school choice to Missouri. Only on KSMU, an interview with Dr. Norm Ridder about his meeting with Rex Sinquefield. Here's KSMU's Missy Shelton.

The name Rex Sinquefield doesn't mean much to most people in Southwest Missouri. But in the St Louis area and at the state capitol, he's known as a wealthy political contributor looking to bring school choice to the state. Public school advocates vilify Sinquefield, saying he wants to build up private schools by dismantling the public school system. Fans of Sinquefield say he cares passionately about improving education in the state, especially in troubled urban areas.

So why would the superintendent of Springfield Public School, Norm Ridder want to meet with him?

Ridder says he and Sinquefield both attended seminar for the same number of years. Ridder has worked in districts where there was school choice, including tax credits for scholarships and vouchers. He has experience with private schools and public schools. Ridder says he's in a unique position to relate to Sinquefield.

Though Ridder has not supported school choice proposals, he says he and Sinquefield have some common interests.

Ridder says he had a fruitful conversation with Sinquefield about how to bring more talented people into teaching. Ridder says it's possible he'll meet with Sinquefield again.

Sinquefield is very active politically, having set up 100 political action committees, which allow him to skirt campaign finance limits and contribute larger sums to candidates.