2013 MSTA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Change the make-up of the State Board of Education
There are no practicing educators on the State Board of Education (SBOE). With the decisions that the SBOE makes, it would be appropriate to include immediate input from educators.
The board has eight members, with no more than four from the same political party, serving eight-year terms.
MSTA supports a plan to change the make-up of the SBOE to include an active classroom teacher, principal and superintendent.
MSTA would also support changing length of terms for all members of the SBOE. Our plan would shorten the terms for the lay members to four years with one reappointment possible. The practicing educators would be limited to one four-year term.
Funding for evaluator training
Effective professional development should include a quality performance-based teacher evaluation (PBTE) that is based upon locally developed standards. The success of the new educator-evaluator model is going to be dependent on quality evaluators. Since this new educator-evaluator model is being forced on districts by the state/federal government, there should be appropriate resources to properly implement this system.
Standards have continued to rise in Missouri. If Missouri schools are going to reach the goal of being a “Top 10 by 20” state then resources are going to be necessary to meet these increased standards. Local taxpayers have increased their percentage of funding for schools. Funding for the foundation formula needs to be a high priority for our legislature.
Flexibility/alternatives to MSIP 5
School districts in other states have used different methods to show accountability. The one-size-fits-all philosophy of MSIP 5 may not work for every school district. We encourage the legislature to examine and approve flexibility or alternatives to MSIP 5.
At a time when the budget for the state of Missouri does not allow for adequate funding for vital state services it is time for the Missouri General Assembly to reform tax credits.
Tax credits lower the tax liability for individuals and corporations, and as such reduce the amount of revenue that the state collects. Tax credits are a multi-million dollar business.
The state issues tax credits for a number of reasons. Most tax credits are designed to encourage a business to create jobs, thereby increasing the taxes that the state collects. Currently the state has too many tax credit programs that do not bring back to the state a sufficient return on its investment.
MSTA was represented on the Governors Tax Credit Review Commission and supports the commission’s recommendations.
Establish a Charter School Closure Fund
The financial condition of many charter schools is not good. Taxpayers should not be left with paying when a charter management company goes out of business. The closure of Imagine Prep Schools in St. Louis cost taxpayers over $150,000. There is a real possibility that other charter schools will financially fail. The sponsors should be held more accountable for the financial conditions of the schools in which they are involved.
Retain current retirement benefits
If legislation is not passed to extend the “25 and out” rule and the increased factor for working 31 or more years, there will be a run on our retirement system as teachers take advantage of these benefits before they expire. MSTA supports making these benefits permanent.
Retirement and Social Security benefits
MSTA opposes any state or federal proposal to group the teachers’ retirement system funds with Social Security. In addition, the association opposes provisions that deprive teachers of their earned benefits accrued by participation in the Social Security system, including the offset provision and the windfall benefits law.
Federal Influence in Education
• MSTA opposes federal suppression, including No Child Left Behind, over state and local responsibility for public education, including assessments that set standards and drive curriculum.
• MSTA supports requiring that existing and future increases in federal dollars be delivered to the local school district whenever possible and should be focused on distributing federal dollars back to the classroom.
• MSTA supports allowing states flexibility in designing accountability systems that go beyond scores on statewide assessments.
• MSTA opposes any proposal to eliminate or weaken the teacher tenure law.
• MSTA opposes school vouchers, or education tax credits that would divert public money to pay for private school tuition.
• MSTA opposes merit pay, including the use of standardized tests scores or other subjective criteria as a measurement of teacher performance or to determine future salary increases.