Missouri GOP Lawmakers Push to End Teacher Tenure

Monday, 07 Mar 2011 12:47 PM

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A push by Republican lawmakers in Missouri to end tenure for elementary and secondary school teachers is not get much support in parts of the state, the St. Joseph News-Press reported Monday.

State Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, a St. Charles Republican and chairman of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, has proposed the Teacher Continuing Contract Act. It would eliminate tenure, and create an evaluation process to determine the length of teacher contracts. The evaluation, which would be based on test scores and input from principals, would help determine salary.

John Schlange, who has worked for 21 years in the St. Joseph School District and is a member of the executive board of the Missouri State Teachers Association, said testing is important, but it should not be used to retain teachers. Teachers are now retained through an evaluation of classroom skills.

“I understand the rationale behind improving instruction,” Schlange told the newspaper. “I’m not sure this bill does that.”

State Rep. Mike Thomson, a Republican from Maryville, a former educator and a member of Mr. Dieckhaus’ committee, said the proposed bill could be another issue that falls under the urban/rural divide.

“I think we make such an effort to improve schools in the school districts in the city, and we forget that a majority of schools in the districts in the state are successful,” he said.

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