Editorial: Tenure bill fails in Missouri

Missouri House Legislature has thankfully decided against passing bill HCS#2/HB 631 that would have harmed teachers’ jobs and tenure.

Missouri’s House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee passed the bill, 13-11, on March 27, stating the state would mandate everything a school does with its teachers including evaluation, hiring, promotion, firing, layoff and compensation.

At first, the bill was sent back on March 28. The committee voted again April 2, and passed the bill, 13-10. It was then voted down April 10, in a perfection vote.

Sarah Riss, superintendent, explained how the bill would have worked. She said an evaluation would be done ranking teachers in the categories of ineffective, minimally effective, effective and highly effective. Thirty-three percent of that would be calculated from students’ scores.

“I do not support the bill. I believe school administrators are responsible for the evaluation of teachers and providing them with feedback and support to improve performance and address concerns and to terminate them if necessary. Teachers should not be judged solely on a student’s performance. There are so many variables that impact educational performance that are out of a teacher’s control,” said Representative Jeanne Kirkton about the bill.

Margret Skouby, MSTA representative and chemistry teacher, agreed with Kirkton, “Teachers who have worked hard to get their tenure status and have continued to work toward their own self-improvement would be placed back at zero years and would have to begin the process over again,” she said.

If this bill had passed then, teachers would have a harder time getting jobs and getting better pay if they are doing well, so thank you legislature for rejecting it.

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