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Proposal seeks to end Missouri teacher tenure

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 ~ Updated 5:39 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A proposed state constitutional amendment would prohibit tenure for Missouri teachers.

The initiative was filed Tuesday with the secretary of state's office and could appear before voters in November.

Under the measure, school districts receiving public funding could not enter into new contracts with teachers for a term of more than three years. Schools would be barred from receiving public funding if seniority plays any role in determining whether to fire or promote teachers.

Districts would be required to use local performance standards for employment decisions that consider student performance.

Supporters say measure would improve education, but a teachers union says proposals should empower teachers and not undermine them. A state school board group says it supports replacing teacher tenure but prefers statutory changes, not a constitutional amendment.

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Great teachers are out there making a difference in their student's lives every day..and they will be remembered forever as being a positive influence in those lives. Incompetent teachers are doing the same thing in a negative manner. Eliminate tenure...make yearly performance reviews mandatory, get the indifferent and half-hearted teachers performing their jobs as they should be, or else they can hit the job market applying for jobs at McDonalds with their former students.

-- Posted by Catbert on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 12:49 PM

Great idea, Catbert. I'll support it as soon as you can show me how to appropriately evaluate teacher performance. Relying on test scores, grades, student/parent acceptance, etc. is not valid. We all seems to forget that the majority of education and knowledge-gain takes place outside of the school. Teachers exist to initiate and foster learning, whiled families are supposed to continue and support it at home. Too many parents now want learning to take place only during school hours. That won't happen.

-- Posted by southeastredhawks on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 1:04 PM

Each Pricincipal should have a file of every one of the teachers in his/her building. In that file should be positive remarks, observations, any issues that have arisen, any tardies or attire reprimands etc. Student progress reports etc. Take everything into consideration and evaluate the teacher for rehire. I teach, and I am against tenure.

-- Posted by Theorist on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 1:27 PM

Although I an NOT one, I come from a family of teachers. Teachers should be evaluated just like everyone else. However, they should not be removed without just cause. For example,not so they can hire someone with some inside connections to school administration. They should be hired and released based solely on ability and performance.

-- Posted by cardsfan53 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 1:50 PM

After 30+ years in the teaching systems of five different schools, I am sad to admit that most of your suggestions for evaluating teachers won't work.

Evaluations rely on fair, educated, objective, unbiased evaluators with no "ax" to grind, no personality issues to foist on their fellow workers, no political agendas to fill.

The State legislature has been out to get their thumb on teachers ever since I've been in education. The main thing they want, of course, is our retirement money. Everything else is gravy...

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 2:21 PM

Ending tenure is fine, but only if accompanied by much higher salaries. In particular starting teacher salaries would need to greatly raise to compensate for the added risks and lose of any carrot to seniority.

If we end tenure without significantly sweetening the incentives why would any competent person choose a future career as a teacher? There might be a small number of diehards that would become teachers regardless of how little they were paid and how lousy their working conditions were, but most bright and hard working individuals would explore other options. Already the top half of college students largely shun teaching as a career, leaving us with the lower performing students. Do we want to scrap even lower in the barrel?

-- Posted by Nil on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 4:14 PM

I have no problem going along with this constitutional amendment if the citizens of Missouri are willing to open education up to a true FREE market:

1. Teachers would be allowed to go in and negotiate their own individual contracts (both length and benefits) based on their own merits and achievements. If seniority is no longer a consideration, then seniority cannot be used to artificially contain salaries. Make no mistake about it, if this amendment passes, exceptional veteran teachers are going to want big raises.

2. Teachers should be allowed to go on strike bargain collectively just like any other private sector jobs.

3. Salary schedules that teachers are hired in with should be honored just as if they were part of the contract regardless of the state budget.

4. Do away with alt certification or any other fast track to the classroom programs that allow people to by pass the degree programs that most of us had to successfully complete before we were certified.

You see free market is a two way street. The people of Missouri cannot have it both ways. Most teachers are in the profession because they want to have a positive influence in the lives of young people---not because they expect to get rich.

As a general rule, teachers in Missouri have taken less on the front end in terns of pay and benefits in return for a good retirement plan and tenure. Promises were made to our veteran teachers that need to be honored.

You want education reform? Instead of trying to hold one teacher accountable for the performance of 100+ students, try holding each student accountable for their own performance with things like: 1. If you do not perform on the federally mandated tests AND do well in class you do not participate in athletics or other extra curricular activities. 2. If you do not perform on the federally mandated tests AND do well in class you forfeit your drivers license. 3. If you do not perform on the federally mandated tests AND do well in class, you lose eligibility for post secondary education financial aid. 4. If you do not perform on the federally mandated tests AND do well in class, you don't graduate. I realize that these suggestions will never happen.

You see, it is easier to offer up a few sacrificial lambs as opposed to killing some sacred cows.

@Nil: While we are on the same side with respect to the amendment, I must disagree with your suggestion that teachers (as a group) are the least intelligent and laziest of all college graduates. I would suggest that top half of college students that you deem "bright and hard working" do not want to work for the pittance that is a teacher's salary. Most of us entered the teaching profession because it was a "calling" not a "job." We were well aware of the low salaries that came with the profession; but at one time, respect that teachers received and the intrinsic rewards were enough to offset any financial deficiency. Those rewards no longer exist. If this amendment passes, the argument will be, districts can get rid of veteran teachers who have high salaries and hire young, energetic, HUNGRY college graduates. What districts will discover is that these HUNGRY college graduates will not want to GO HUNGRY trying to make a living.

-- Posted by bluejay_fan_natic20 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 5:11 PM

Wow! Blue jay, you lay it on the line! I think I'll copy and frame this piece of writing! It should hang in teacher work rooms across the state!

I love the part about the sacrificial lambs and sacred cows!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 6:19 PM

@ goat lady: I have every faith in the electorate of Missouri on this one. Never underestimate the intelligence of the electorate. Remember, it was the electorate that gave us our 44th president. :)

-- Posted by bluejay_fan_natic20 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 7:10 PM

@ goat lady: You are a veteran teacher. I would love to correspond with you about teaching and education in general. If you are so inclined email me weneedachange@hotmail.com I'd love to pick your brain.

-- Posted by bluejay_fan_natic20 on Tue, Jan 17, 2012, at 7:20 PM

"The beatings shall continue until morale improves." When you take away motivation and just blame teachers (instead of the system), and are lousy at raising kids who know what politeness is, you deserve what you get.

-- Posted by J.R. McLoughlin on Wed, Jan 18, 2012, at 10:59 AM

You cannot accurately evaluate a teacher based on student performance. It can't and shouldn't be done. And politics plays such a part in who gets hired. Eliminating tenure will make it even easier to get rid of a teacher for the sole reason of giving her/his job to someone who has connections on the school board. Not fair at all.

-- Posted by Nell on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 11:41 AM

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