Mo. House education committee votes to abolish teacher tenure

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Missouri House Elementary and Secondary Education voted Friday, April 22, by a narrow margin to recommend abolishing teacher tenure starting in 2013. is reporting that SB 147, now heads to the House Rules Committee before being considered by the full House.

The committee vote was 8-7 in favor, with a mix of Republicans and Democrats on each side of the issue, according to the report.

Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall, a former school superintendent, voted against the measure.

House Committee Votes To Abolish Teacher Tenure:

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  • No tenure, no career ladder, no raises ... good luck finding students who want to teach in Missouri.

    -- Posted by raysfan on Fri, Apr 22, 2011, at 7:28 PM
  • "No tenure, no career ladder, no raises ... good luck finding students who want to teach in Missouri."

    How very true. All the while no expense is spared when it comes to athletics.

    -- Posted by outsider on Sat, Apr 23, 2011, at 8:11 AM
  • This is a reaction to the teacher-bashing that seems to be sweeping our nation. Remember when teachers were among the most respected people in a community? Those days are long gone, and I'm not sure why.

    I'm amazed at the bloggers that gripe about the 10 month contracts and "huge" salaries that teachers earn. When you compare average teachers' salaries to other professions with similar education, teachers are still near the very bottom. In fact, anyone who has to foot the bill for four years of college and then start at $30,000 or less will take years to pay off their college loans.

    But the good teachers don't care because they have looked forward to stepping into their own classrooms full of students for years. Teaching is definitely not a job--it's a career and a passion for most. Plus, a teaching career requires continual college hours that have to be paid for. After 30 years and 1, 2, or 3 advanced degrees, a teacher in Missouri might top out at a salary around $55,000, and for some reason that seems like a crime!

    I don't understand why a community would expect its teachers to live at or below the poverty level. The teachers should be the smartest, most innovative, compassionate, and dedicated people available. These are the people that will spend more time with your kids than you will! Will the best people want to "settle" for a career in teaching if this bashing continues?

    Of course not. I know there are bad apples in our school system, but for every one bad, there are so, so, many good that live and breathe their jobs 24/7. Yes, I believe administrators need to do THEIR jobs and fire the bad apples, but that can be done now with tenure. It just takes more work and administrators often don't want to tackle such an unpleasant situation.

    If teachers lose tenure, what will stop a district from firing experienced teachers in order to hire "cheaper" teachers fresh out of college. That will happen, and a teacher with 20 years of experience will be pounding the pavement looking for work. We cannot let that happen in Missouri.

    We will definitely lose the best college grads to other jobs, and then we will have to settle for the teachers that settle for teaching.

    -- Posted by WickedWitch on Sat, Apr 23, 2011, at 10:10 AM
  • Right on, WickedWitch!

    -- Posted by taxedpayer on Sat, Apr 23, 2011, at 11:57 AM
  • It is expensive to become a teacher. Let's just say you became a dentist and some of your patients got cavities no matter how good your practice was. Does that make you a bad dentist? Do you think some people are more prone to cavities? Well, not all students have the same intellectual ability. A teacher can only take them so far. Are they a bad teacher? The people making the education laws are not educators. They are the ones who need an education.

    -- Posted by Pasta on Sat, Apr 23, 2011, at 5:54 PM
  • Wicked Witch you said, "This is a reaction to the teacher-bashing that seems to be sweeping our nation. Remember when teachers were among the most respected people in a community? Those days are long gone, and I'm not sure why."

    I think the why is that no profession is respected these days. Lawyers, Bankers, Presidents, Judges, no to all. Not even Doctors though they are not as besmirched as other professions, griping confined to they charge too much, and they make too much money. I think that a more general mood has swept the country.

    The income of the middle class, and the working poor has been on a steady descent for years. The very rich are getting richer as never before. People, as they experience this get angry, and they get insecure. In that state of mind they are apt to strike out at any one that they feel has a better deal, whether they are right or wrong. It is an error in judgment, but it is human nature. Rationality is lost when people are stressed. Of course, the anger should be focused on those who have made it happen, but many can only see what is in front of their noses. Lacking the ability to see through the smoke screen to the ultra rich who are forcing this wealth swap, they strike out at what is near.

    One more comment that I can't resist making is that maybe there is some poetic justice occuring here concerning all those educators who have continued to vote Republican, even when the warning signs have been out for years that near the top of the Republican agenda is the desire to destroy public education as we have always known it. The Republicans are now rubbing it in the face of educators all across our once great nation, tearing away at the very fabric that has been so carefully woven in a bipartisan manner for generations. Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, all across our nation Republicans, both state, and national, The Republican party is out to get you educators.

    Some one may reply, saying, but the article that spawned all these comments said that both Democrats, and Republicans voted against tenure. Before you do, at least do some research, that is what teachers are supposed to do, and supposed to teach others to do.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 1:29 AM
  • I will save you the research concerning this immediate case. Citing the link to the above article stated, "The committee vote was 8-7 in favor, with a mix of Republicans and Democrats on each side of the issue, according to the report."

    The MDN article could have also stated just as accurately, perhaps more so, that only one Democrat voted to abolish tenure.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 1:43 AM
  • NO profession should be exempt from termination. It is a ridiculous practice and should be abolished. Teachers (especially teachers) should be accountable for their performance. No Child Left Behind fails miserably in trying to accomplish accountability. Abolishing tenure makes more sense.

    -- Posted by born-n-raised on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 4:30 PM
  • It's a common misconception that tenure means teachers can't be fired. As I understand it, tenure just means the district has to follow certain procedures if it wants to fire somebody.

    -- Posted by taxedpayer on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 4:54 PM
  • In my entire near 1/2 century of life I have known of 3 teachers that have been dismissed, & that was for alleged cheating on the MAP test, & all of those firings came very recently. How many teachers have you known to be fired, taxedpayer?

    -- Posted by born-n-raised on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 7:00 PM
  • born-n-raised:

    I think maybe you're unaware of how teachers are usually 'fired.' In the last three years, I can think of 9 teachers, off the top of my head, that have been let go in Marshall. Unless a teacher does something horrible (cheating), they are allowed to finish the year, but their contract isn't renewed or they are asked to resign. This is the case this year with a couple of teachers that I know of. This is a procedure that is used in many private sector jobs that have contractual agreements as well. If you are a bad teacher, then you will not be allowed back. Tenure simply protects the school district from firing good teachers who are unsuccessful coaches, or from getting rid of older teachers who are more expensive in order to save money. Tenured teacher can be let go or asked to resign. Many of the issues people have with tenure come from a misunderstanding of the process.

    -- Posted by marshallgirl on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 8:39 PM
  • I see the trend here and have been railing about it for many years in several forms. as a former teacher in the public and Private school systems(couldn`t afford to buy food and rent and electricity/water on old salary) I feel that with my present Income level the best way for my kids to have a shot is to set up a education fund for each of my kids and send them to private school even if it bankrupts me.

    "free and appropriate public education"..... MY FOOT!

    -- Posted by BigFatGuy on Mon, Apr 25, 2011, at 2:21 PM
  • the school system in the US is exactly what Progressives have been pushing on us for decades, starting in the early 1900s... more and more liberal, more and more anti-constitution, and more and more classes that do not pertain to an education that actually prepares you for life and its inherent unfairness and unpredictibility.

    The progressives have been pushing their agenda through the education system and it has continually progressed downward in quality of education for our children. And when DC politicos try to mandate a specific type of school for public school while sending their kids to private schools does this not tell you that our public system is doomed to failure?

    -- Posted by mrxray on Tue, Apr 26, 2011, at 11:19 AM
  • while I may disagree with the cause of the problem (no single group can do much in washington unless they convince/bribe the others to help or turn a blind eye) I have to actually type these words and my hands tremble when I make em do it........ I AGREE WITH MRXRAY. (Imagine a fat guy shiver) the schools have become dressed up baby sitters, somebody show me THREE 15-21 year olds who can multiply anything more than single digits without taking out their phone and aren`t from the same household. I DARE YOU.

    there was once a policy to keep a certian group of people from ever climbing their way out of slavery to the upper class. As I recall from history class the best and most effective way wasn`t violence it was to limit the amount of education available to that group.

    our public schools have become a factory for indentured servants to the upper class. why do your think they dont send their kids to school with ours?

    -- Posted by BigFatGuy on Tue, Apr 26, 2011, at 2:15 PM
  • A nontenured teacher can be let go without reason. Tenure requires a reason for being let-go. Marshallgirl is correct in both the number of teachers and how the process is handled. Over the last couple of decades Marshall has let tenured teachers go, but because they were tenured the district had to have reason and inform the teacher. The belief that they can't be fired comes from states that allow teachers to unionize which does increase the difficulty of the process, but it still isn't impossible.

    It was always explained to me that tenured teachers could be fired for incompetence, intoxication, indecency, insubordination, and insufficient funds.

    Another reason for teacher tenure was "compensation" for lower pay when compared to other professionals with similar educational backgrounds. In other words, the pay stinks but the teacher has some peace-of-mind knowing that they have some sense of job security.

    -- Posted by inthemiddle on Tue, Apr 26, 2011, at 7:35 PM
  • Part of the change in education over the "old days" is that laws mandate attendance. We now educate people who decades ago would either graduated at 8th grade or never made it that far. That would have been due to a variety of reasons such as lack of ability, lack of family support, or a financial need.

    We also mainstream students who as recently as the 1970s would have been labelled "special ed," or "retarded" and would not have set foot in MHS. (I believe you called it Center School here in Marshall) Look at MHS. 30 years ago there were only 4 Special Education teachers. Today it is the largest department at MHS with 8, Math only has 5.

    In many classes here and across the nation, we have mixes of students that may range from barely able to read their own name to a kid with a genius IQ sitting two seats over. A teacher has to teach to both plus those in-between. Not an easy task. The result is that is appears to the public that the teachers are "babysitting." When testing time comes for the public to judge the teacher and district, the test scores of the genius kid may not be able to compensate for the lower end scores and the public usually doesn't take the student into account.

    -- Posted by inthemiddle on Tue, Apr 26, 2011, at 7:51 PM
  • Tenured is not necessary. I don't have tenure at my job, when i've been here for 25 yrs they could fire me for someone young, so why are teachers better? Also yes I do believe teachers should be paid more, but on the flip side of that coin, teachers work hours are 8-3 5 days a week (that's a 6 hr work day after lunch & a 30 hr work week). Now yes some teachers coach and other things which adds, but basic teacher salary is based of 30 hrs a week. Two full months off in the summer, and by the time you add in vacations, half days and all the other time kids are away from school you add in another month so you get paid to work 30 hrs a week for 9 months. While the rest of our salaries are for 40 hrs a week for 12 months, with 2 weeks vacation a year. Now i have friends who are teachers and do believe they SHOULD make more! I just want to make sure it stays in perspective compared to other proffesions.

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 8:49 AM
  • oldskool you couldn`t be more wrong about your figures. There isn`t a teacher worth his salt who works 8-3 anywhere. I would be willing to bet you couldn`t find a single teacher who would aggree that their job starts at 8 and stops at 3.

    trade jobs with an elementary school teacher for a week and see if you even think about getting in your car before 430. or a VO-AG teacher and see how that 2 months off in the summer works out.

    it cant be compared to other jobs because it requires way more education than similar pay jobs and pays half as much as jobs that require similar levels education.

    how many people with masters degrees do you know who would sign up for 32,000 a year?

    -- Posted by BigFatGuy on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 9:45 AM
  • Bigfat, I never said that they worked 8-3, i said that's what their work hours and pay is based off. My job is paid off 8-5, but i come in before 8 and work nights and weekends all the time but that doesn't mean my boss pays me for it. An employee's salary (teacher, secretary, manager, or whatever) are all based off so many hours a week for so many months. If one employee is scheduled to work more than another than their salary will be higher. That's just basic math.

    Last i checked you do not have to have a masters degree to be a teacher, i could be wrong and if i am correct me, but I'm sure there are many teachers that do not have a master's degree. Meaning they have a BS or BA just like me and most other college graduates have. If i'm correct about that like i think i am, then no their education is no better than mine.

    Again I think teachers should be paid more, i'm not dogging them at all, I have plenty who are friends of mine. But at the same time, teachers are not better than anyone else and don't deserve any special treatment that a normal Joe worker doesn't get.

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 2:50 PM
  • oldschool Many teachers in Missouri were required to get their Masters. there was a period of about 10 years in the 90s when state law reuqired all new teachers to get their Masters within 5 years. Many who were not required to get it have because it was the primary way to get a pay raise.

    No you did not say they only worked 8-3, but while you were busy deducting their summers and 1/2 days you failed to include the hours and days they work beyond the school day. Also Remember, that on most of those 1/2 days, the students got the afternoon off but teachers had to work. By the way, for many, summer is when they take those classes to get their Masters Degrees or classes to meet state/district requirements for professional development. That is money out of their pocket, which thanks to the cut in Career Laddeer, they will not get even partial reimbursement. I know that SOME other professions these classes are paid by employers.

    -- Posted by inthemiddle on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 5:28 PM
  • Thank you for the info Middle, but like I said they "were" mandatory but they are not anymore. I also did not deduct hours they work outside of 8-3, but simply those hours don't count towards their pay. Just like if I come in and work on weekends my next paycheck isn't more money, a teacher who works until 5 doesn't get paid more (well unless it's coaching or something else that gives them more money).

    Again the Master's stuff is not mandatory anymore, so if you choose to go back to school that is of your own free will. So it's up to the individual teacher to judge if it's worth getting their master's or not. I could go get a masters right now, but at my job getting a masters doesn't get me a raise or anything so it would be pretty dumb of me to waste the money. If a teacher is going to get a huge raise then yeah I'd go for it, but if it's just going to get you a few hundred bucks than it's not worth it.

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 8:34 AM
  • Old School.

    You seem very bitter towards teachers? I do not plan to argue but only will say go spend the day with one of your teacher friends and see what the career is really all about not the asumptions you are making. It has to be one of the hardest but most rewarding job there is!

    Teaching has changed because the students are not the ones seen 20 or 30 years ago! It is mind boggling what homes these kids come from and how the parents expect the teachers and schools to raise these kids! Our school system feeds the kids breakfast and lunch...when the student doesn't have a coat in the winter or gloves it is the school who provides warm items among school supplies, dental check-ups and other health screenings! Not to mention all of the money spent out of the teachers own pocket to help their students. When will people start caring for their children properly and not expect the schools to raise these kids on top of trying to educate them. Parents complain when students have homework, research projects, or other assignments. I have heard parents say why can't Jr. do this at school! I have kids and they did their homework, were held accountable, and were respectful to their teachers no matter how much they disliked them because this was taught in the our home. My children are doing great with a public education!

    Stop bashing teachers because they go above and beyond any job that you might do unless you are a nurse. AND wouldn't you want a well educated teacher teaching your child who is a MASTER in their field? That is why teachers go above and beyond to pursue a Masters degree to become a Master teacher to help children be all that they can be! They are our future even when many have crappy parents. Education opens doors to all students and everybody deserves a free public education!!!

    I know there are bad schools and parents need to vote for competent fair school board members and make sure the administrators are there for the right reason. Too much of the "Good Ol Boy" school boards have ruined many area schools by nodding yes or looking the other way to crooked superintendents. Look at Santa Fe's situation...their broke!

    Enough leave teachers alone just think back to when you were a kid and who was your favorite teacher? Also realize why they were your favorite teacher! There are still lots of GOOD teacher out there........and they deserve tenure because it is a truth administrators are looking to cut costs by hiring cheap new college graduates! I say teachers should Unionize...Maybe Teamsters???!!lol

    -- Posted by Tito on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 7:18 PM
  • Tito, no where in my points have I "bashed" teachers. In fact I said they deserved more money. My points are simply stating that teachers are no better than any other hard working person in this world. And I know exactly what a teacher's day is all about, and I'm sorry but it is no harder than anyone elses jobs. I respect teachers and what they do, but really it's not a job that changes the world anymore than mine is. Just like my job it is a good respectable job, that takes hard work and dedication and a love of what they do. It's nothing more or less than that.

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Fri, Apr 29, 2011, at 8:09 AM
  • I think some may be misinterpreting non-support of tenure as non-support of teachers. I do not support tenure but find most teachers to be very devoted to their jobs and the students. It is my belief that tenure supports the few teachers that are not good at their jobs. Our district has one or two that have been no good at all for our students, but the district can't let them go--they're tenured. Oh possibly, over quite a number of years they could build a case, but realistically unless they commit an indecent act, you hardly ever see it happen. Maybe I am just fortunate to work (non-certified) in a school district with great administrators and a school board who would not fire a teacher without just cause. I know because they have been extremely conservative with non-certified staff that they can release with just 2 weeks notice. My son-in-law is a teacher in another Missouri district and he does not support tenure either.

    Second, I do agree that teachers do an important job, but for some, it's time you lose your superiority attitude. You know your trash service guys put up with some disgusting things and horrible smell all day. I bet they could use a 3-month break from that each year. Then maybe by the end of August, you might consider that their job is as important as a teacher's is. Or what about your power company personnel. You know we've had some pretty bad storms here where we've been out of school for inclement weather while the linemen have been working in the freezing cold 12-18 hour shifts with dangerous electricity to make you comfortable at home. Now there is a little stress that might deserve a 3month break. Maybe at the end of August after no power in your community for air-conditioning or anything else, you might agree that their job is as valuable as a teacher's is. Or my husband worked in retail for 20 years. 2 weeks vacation and 7 holidays off, 6 days a week every week. I know I don't deserve more for working in the school district, so I just greatly appreciate all of the extra days off at Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break and summers.

    As far as the fear of firing experienced teachers for hiring cheaper new teachers, let's be realistic. In every private sector of business this is a possibility. But how often do you see it actually happen? Experience is valued, when you get a good employee, you keep them. So if you're being a good teacher, this isn't really going to happen.

    I am in no way bitter toward teachers, but maybe toward the attitude of superiority and entitlement I keep hearing. Let's value the job every person does, there are many underappreciated out there.

    -- Posted by Ordinary Joe on Fri, May 6, 2011, at 9:06 AM
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