Conservative billionaire Rex Sinquefield does not believe that teaching should be a career. He doesn’t think that teachers should have any job security. He thinks that teachers should have short-term contracts and that their jobs should depend on the test scores of their students. He has contributed $750,000 to launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment in Missouri to achieve his aims.

The campaign, in a style now associated with those who hope to dismantle the teaching profession, has the duplicitous name “” to signify the opposite of its intent. The assumption is that the removal of any job security and any kind of due process for teachers will somehow mysteriously produce “great” teachers. This absurd idea is then called “reform.” This is the kind of thinking that typically comes from hedge fund managers, not human service professionals.

Sinquefield manages billions of dollars and is also the state’s biggest political contributor.

“The “” initiative would limit teacher contracts to no more than three years. It also requires “teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted, and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system,” according to the summary on the group’s website.

“The initiative also mandates that teachers be allowed to engage in collective bargaining for pay, benefits and working conditions, in an apparent move to appeal to teacher groups. So far, such organizations have been wary of the proposed constitutional amendment.

“Sinquefield gave $100,000 to this summer.

“Roughly 147,000-160,000 signatures from Missouri registered voters would be needed to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The exact number depends on which six of the state’s eight congressional districts are used for signature collection.

“A similar ballot initiative – also backed by Sinquefield — was proposed for the 2012 ballot, but signature collection was never completed.

“This latest contribution sharply increases Sinquefield’s total 2013 donations to various Missouri causes and candidates to more than $2.5 million, according to the Ethics Commission’s tally.”

We have seen in state after state that conservative ideologues can buy politicians. But we will see whether they can also buy enough of the public, through advertising and public relations, to start the purge that Sinquefield believes is necessary.

I can’t help but be reminded of the time I spoke to the Missouri Education Association about three years ago. There were about 800 teachers there from across the state. Afterwards, when I signed books, I was struck by the number of people who said things like, “please sign this for my dad, he is a retired superintendent,” or “please sign this for me and my two sisters, we are a family of teachers.” So many of the teachers came from small towns where their family had been teachers for years. If Sinquefield has his way, who will replace them? Is there a long line of graduates from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton just itching to teach in Eureka and all the towns and hamlets of Missouri, to take the place of those who are fired? And who will replace them when they move on to their real careers?

Sinquefield despises public schools. In 2012, he had to apologize for a remark in which he said that the KU Klux Klan invented public schools to hurt African-American children.

Sinquefield founded a fund that now manages over $300 billion. He is also founder and president of the Show-Me Institute, a libertarian policy belief-tank.