Rex Sinquefield deserves praise for his work in bringing the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis to the Central West End.
An important goal of the Chess Center is to encourage scholastic chess programs, especially in St. Louis Public Schools, in part, because the game has obvious behavioral and cognitive benefits for district students.
Sinquefield has earned plaudits for his chess club efforts. Sinquefield has understandably drawn some harsh criticism for a number of his other ideas on improving schools and government in Missouri.
• Public schools aren’t happy that he champions school vouchers and the establishment of charter schools.
• Public school teachers aren’t happy that he pours thousands of dollars into the campaigns of state legislators who embrace his idea of ending teacher tenure.
• Public school officials aren’t happy with his ideas to replace the state income tax with a huge hike in sales taxes. They predict revenue losses from his “Fair Tax” that would be disastrous for public education.
With all this unhappiness, it comes as no surprise that educators jumped all over Sinquefield when he foolishly linked public schools with the Ku Klux Klan in a recent speech at Lindenwood University. Sinquefield’s presentation included the remark:
“…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.…'”
“Beyond offensive.” That’s how Vic Lenz of the Lindbergh School Board characterized his remarks. Lenz is also president of the Missouri School Board Association and the MSBA is condemning the Klan comments.
“His remarks indicate remarkable hostility toward the public schools in Missouri,” noted Lenz. “Candidates for the legislature or state office should not be accepting campaign contributions from him and should return those they have received.”
If all legislators and candidates for statehouse returned contributions, the dollars would pile up in millions. The Associated Press reports that Sinquefield also has given $2.5 million to Let The Voters Decide, a group which is working to get his idea to abolish the state income tax onto the ballot in November 2012.
School board members across the state are urging residents not to sign petitions to get the so-called Fair Tax onto the ballot. They say Sinquefield’s “Fair Tax” idea is better labeled as a regressive “Everything Tax.”
Read more here.
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