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Missouri Teacher Tenure Debated

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Jefferson City, MO
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX CAPITOL BUREAU) - Is teacher tenure in jeopardy in Missouri? It could be if some state lawmakers have their way.

The issue surfaced in the State Senate General Laws Committee. St. Louis County Representative Jane Cunningham sponsored a bill to eliminate tenure sighting stagnant test scores as the motivation for looking into teacher performance.

Cunningham, who served on the Ladue School Board for one term said getting rid of bad teachers is difficult because of the amount of money and time it takes.  She sighted an example.

“The decision not to terminate a teacher that they knew they needed too, was made because they did not want to spend the money legally to do it.”

Under the Cunningham bill, teacher tenure would be replaced with contracts that are no longer than three years. It would also involve regular evaluations and performance based pay.

 Mike Wood with the Missouri State Teacher Association says performance based pay is ridiculous.

Wood told the committee:  “to put teachers across the hallway in competition with each other for increases of salary at their expense just doesn’t lend itself to being conducive in a learning  enviroment.”

Representative Cunningham took exception to that statement:

“What a derogatory statement to a professional. To say a difference in pay would make them so they are so jealous they can’t work together for the betterment of a child. I’m embarrassed by a statement like that.”

The committee took no vote on the bill.

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