Efforts have been underway to eliminate tenure for public school teachers in Missouri, but those have largely come up short in the state legislature.
The Columbia Missourian reported Tuesday that the "debate came to halt when a divided (state senate) chamber approved an amendment to keep tenure in place while a special task force examines teacher pay and effectiveness."
But the issue hasn't entirely died. On Thursday, Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, amended her original version of the bill; now, that version has gotten first-round approval in the state senate. It would double from five to 10 years the number of years a teacher must serve before earning tenure.
MissouriNet reports that, according to Cunningham, "the tenure system makes it too hard to get rid of ineffective teachers, (and she) had wanted to eliminate tenure but has settled for a version of her bill that another senator calls 'watered down.'"
The Missourian notes that tenure makes it difficult for school districts to get rid of a teacher for any reasons other than immoral conduct; incompetency, inefficiency or insubordination; willful or persistent violation of the state's school laws or regulations; excessive absences; or conviction of certain felonies.
Proponents of eliminating or weakening tenure say the existing system makes it too difficult to fire underperforming teachers.
Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County, was the only Democrat opposed to keeping the teacher tenure system intact, according to a report by CBS Radio in St. Louis.
“All I am asking for is accountability,” Chappelle-Nadal told CBS; she is also a school board member for University City.
Do you agree? Should Missouri weaken the tenure system — if not eliminate it altogether? Or should teachers have the sort of job protection tenure affords?
Patch blogger, Aimee Granneman, has spoken out in support of teachers and tenure.