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#MoNoOn3: A Constitutional Amendment Affecting Public Schools

 

 

 

Constitutional Amendment 3 will appear on the November 4th, 2014 general election ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment. The amendment, which is centered on using standardized test scores to evaluate public school teachers, is a bad move for Missouri’s students, teachers, and schools.

What the Ballot Says
The ballot boils Constitutional Amendment 3 down to three core changes: teacher evaluations, effects of those evaluations, and teacher rights for contracts and collective bargaining.

Specifically, the Amendment reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • Require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • Require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • Require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

How Constitutional Amendment 3 Came to Be
Constitutional Amendment 3 is sponsored by Teach Great, an organization lead not by teachers or other educational professionals, but by a wealthy businessman (Rex Sinquefield) from St. Louis who has put hundreds of thousands of his own dollars into this one campaign.

In fact, educators and school leaders statewide strongly oppose Constitutional Amendment 3. Teachers and administrators are standing firm: #NoMoOn3. TWEET THIS

Educators Oppose Amendment 3
Individual teachers and statewide educational organizations are doing their best to raise awareness about what Amendment 3 means to public education budgets and to students in our public schools.

Two teachers in the Francis Howell School District have lost a legal challenge to the ballot initiative. The teachers argued that the amendment was in violation of the Missouri Constitution because it addressed two topics (a teacher evaluation system and limited ability for collective bargaining) simultaneously.

The Missouri State Teachers Association, the Committee in Support of Public Schools, and the Cape Girardeau Teachers Association are just a few of the educational organizations stepping up to publicly argue #MoNoOn3.

Missouri NEA lobbyist DeeAnn Aull said, “This amendment will result in more time spent testing and less time spent learning, actually short-changing the education students receive.”

The impacts of Missouri Amendment 3 are far-reaching, affecting school expenses, teacher recruitment and retention, the number of standardized tests students will be required to take (the number is estimated to increase tenfold), and how much control districts and schools will have over the evaluation of their own educators.

What the Amendment Means for Schools

  • Schools & districts will lose local control; their individual evaluation systems must be approved in Jefferson City. TWEET THIS
  • Students will be required to take even more standardized tests (the Missouri State Teachers Association estimates a tenfold increase to account for new tests in areas like music and the arts). TWEET THIS
  • Those additional tests raise the costs of an already underfunded and financially strained state education system. TWEET THIS
  • Student test scores would be used as the majority factor in the determination of teacher pay and retention: they could be fired or demoted if their students perform poorly on standardized tests. TWEET THIS
  • Teachers in low-income schools (where student test performance is negatively influenced by factors that are well outside of the teacher’s influence) could lose their jobs if students test poorly. TWEET THIS
  • The amendment would make it harder to recruit and retain teachers to work in Missouri’s low-income and/or underperforming schools and districts. TWEET THIS
  • Teacher contracts could no longer exist for periods of more than three years. TWEET THIS
  • Teachers would be prevented from collectively bargaining over the terms of their own evaluations. TWEET THIS

Constitutional Amendment 3 is a bad idea all-around. The amendment is one more effort—an expensive one, at that—by Rex Sinquefield to put his mark on public education.

 

TWEET THIS REMINDER TO YOUR FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS BEFORE 10.8.2014!

Come back to the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on social media to stay informed on Constitutional Amendment 3 and other policy initiatives that will affect your public school student in Missouri.

 

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