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Teacher Tenure & the Legislative Session

The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education identified 12 educational issues during its public hearings in October 2013 that we can expect to hear discussed more frequently in 2014. One of those issues is Missouri teacher tenure.

Teacher tenure is a divisive topic in our state. Part of the reason for that division is that there are a number of misconceptions about teacher tenure in Missouri. The most prominent misperception might be that tenure protects teachers from involuntary dismissal. In fact, tenured teachers can be (and are) fired in Missouri for a number of reasons.

The Committee’s final report said that, “ideally ineffective teachers are coached into being more effective or coached out of the profession”.

Missouri’s current teacher tenure law allows for that coaching, as well as for the immediate dismissal of teachers who meet certain dismissal criteria.

Missouri teacher tenure is good for several other reasons as well:

· Teacher tenure protects experienced (and more expensive) teachers from being released and replaced by less experienced (and less expensive) teachers without just cause.
· Teacher tenure protects teachers from being fired for using unpopular or controversial teaching tactics or curriculum.
· Tenure protects teachers from being fired for political, personal, or non-work-related reasons.
· Teacher tenure helps to attract and retain talented and effective teachers to teach in Missouri’s public schools.
· Tenure empowers teachers to advocate for students when those same teachers question the administrative choices of their principals or superintendents.

As the current legislative session gets underway, teacher tenure will continue to be a contentious subject of discussion. Missouri Parent believes that teacher tenure is a good policy for Missouri’s K-12 public school teachers and students. It should be reiterated that even with tenure, any teacher can be fired at any time in Missouri for a number of reasons. To learn more about teacher tenure in Missouri, click here.

Teacher Tenure and Teacher Shortages in the State of Missouri
Common Misperceptions About Teacher Tenure in Missouri

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