Following the Teacher Workforce Data report in January of 2019, the board tasked the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to come up with a plan to address the alarming trends in both Missouri and nationwide regarding teacher recruitment and retention. In response to the State Board’s call to action, the department developed the Teacher Outreach Plan.
The Teacher Outreach Plan includes three phases.
Phase 1: Gather and analyze data.
Phase 2: Engage key stakeholders to formulate strategies.
Phase 3: Implement strategies and monitor progress.
During the first phase of the plan, MSTA worked with the department to provide information gathered from MSTA members in the State of the Education Profession Survey. The survey identified issues regarding confidence in being and becoming an educator and showed three areas that MSTA members identified as the largest concerns regarding the profession. Salary, school climate and leadership in their districts stood out as the issues that contribute to teachers either leaving a district, or the profession. This data mirrored national data, as well as surveys performed by other education groups in the state.
The second phase of the plan, engaging key stakeholders to formulate strategies resulted in the formation of the Teacher Table. The Teacher Table is comprised of over 30 participants including 18 teachers and 17 stakeholders organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers. MSTA is well represented with a large number of members, as well as MSTA Executive Director Bruce Moe. The first issue identified by the Teacher Table was Missouri teacher salaries. A plan was put together that showed what it would take to bring Missouri in line with neighboring states. An increase in the minimum teacher salary to $32,000 and an across-the-board $4,000 pay raise proposal was presented to the State Board in December. The board did not make a decision on the plan, but later included the increase to the minimum salary in their legislative priorities. The legislature would have to pass a bill to increase the minimum salary. At the January State Board meeting, the other parts of the teacher table plan to address teacher recruitment and retention were presented.
Phase three of the plan has begun with the recommendation to the SBOE based on both the data collected in phase one, and the information from key stakeholders in phase two. In addition to the salary proposal, the Teacher Table made recommendations to address recruitment that include partnerships with MSTA’s Future Teachers of America, expansion of grow your own programs, extending the A+ scholarship for education candidates, increased loan forgiveness programs and certification revisions. Retention recommendations include high quality professional learning opportunities, Missouri Leadership Development System completion for all principals, creation of a master teacher certificate, mentoring and induction for all new teachers, school accountability indicators that support growth, evaluation of the time, attention and preparation toward student testing, and revising the accreditation and testing systems. The recommendations also include goals to improve culture and climate in schools, including; a statewide climate and culture survey, identifying and filling key positions dedicated to mental health, clinical experience for mental health professionals and guidelines for individual and collaborative planning time.
The department will continue to work on the strategies and implementation of the plan and the steps that must be taken.
Watch the related video below.
On a special conference call in December, the State Board of Education adopted formal legislative priorities for the 2020 session. The priorities were broken into four categories.
The State Board of Education supports access to voluntary high-quality early learning opportunities for all Missouri children. We support phasing in a plan to allow Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to count 100 percent of 4-5-year-olds in early learning programs in their calculation of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) in the foundation formula.
Teacher Recruitment & Retention
The State Board of Education supports raising the minimum teacher salary from its current $25,000 per year to $32,000 per year.
The average Missouri starting teacher salary is $32,400 which ranks 48th in the United States. Minimum salaries in border states range from $32,000 to nearly $36,000, placing Missouri last in the region. Missouri last took action on increasing teacher salary 14 years ago. An increase to $32,000 would impact roughly 3 percent (2,300) of Missouri teachers at a cost of $4.4 million.
The State Board of Education suggests both the House and Senate create a Joint Interim Committee to study teacher compensation and strategies to move Missouri to the median of all states in average teacher compensation. In addition, we suggest this committee work closely with education organizations and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to study alternatives to the traditional salary schedule, such as, incentive pay, health benefit design, tenure and differential pay based on subject area and geography.
A minimum salary increase would impact roughly 3 percent of Missouri teachers and overall salary increase would impact the remaining 97 percent. Teachers in Missouri earn 26.5 percent less than other college graduates earn in wages.
The State Board of Education recommends the House and Senate create a Joint Interim Committee to study the growing violence in school settings and violence directed against teachers. The committee should work closely with the statewide education organizations and DESE to understand practical solutions to this issue. In addition, the committee should look at the efficacy of legislation and solutions from other states when making recommendations for Missouri.
Teacher Safety and Retention: Eighty percent of teachers responding to a recent MSTA survey reported having experienced or witnessed a form of violence from either students or parents and over one-fourth said they have considered leaving the profession as a result of safety concerns.
Recruitment Challenge: Student survey data collected by DESE indicates that one of the reasons students today are not interested in being a teacher is due to the treatment they see their teachers receive.
The State Board of Education suggests that students in Missouri high schools be required to focus on an area of concentration related to a career field or achieving success in higher education.
The selection of an area of concentration can provide students the opportunity to see the relevance of their coursework toward their desired career or major.
The State Board of Education supports requiring the use of an integrated advising system that connects career advising with academic support consistently across secondary and postsecondary institutions and is informed by employers’ current and anticipated needs.
The State Board of Education supports continued full funding of the foundation formula. Fully funding schools demonstrates the state’s commitment to education and the importance of an educated workforce for workforce development, business attraction, and the overall economic strength of our state. The State Board of Education supports phasing in full funding of the school transportation funding formula over the next three fiscal years.
The State Board of Education also suggests legislation to incent school districts to share educational costs.
Resource Sharing: This may include incentives to share superintendents and other key personnel.
Regional Approach: Regional centers, new and/or existing, may assist with support services, such as procurement, information technology, risk management, health insurance, accounting, facility maintenance, and transportation.
The newly adopted legislative priorities guide MSTA lobbyists while working with the Missouri legislature, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Public Schools & Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS). These legislative priorities, drafted by the Education Policy Committee, are crafted from the MSTA Adopted Resolutions that are voted on at the Assembly of Delegates each year by delegates at the MSTA Convention.
The state legislature has fully funded the school foundation formula. The state must work to close the funding gap for K-12 transportation, while maintaining full funding of the formula. MSTA also supports increased funding for early childhood education, parenting programs and family literacy programs.
The average teacher salary in Missouri is far below the national average and compared to other states, the average beginning teacher salary is even lower. These inadequately paid professionals are expected to deliver student performance results that are above average. While states surrounding Missouri continue to increase teacher pay, Missouri falls further and further behind national trends in teacher compensation.
MSTA supports public charter school expansion only when charters are granted by the local school board within an existing accredited Missouri public school district. Charter school expansion should include requirements that charter schools have the same certification and compensation standards of other schools in the district, and tenure status should not be reduced or lost as a result of teaching in the public charter school.
MSTA also supports requiring all members of a public charter school board be required to be residents of the district which the charter school serves.
Recruitment and Retention:
According to the 2019 MSTA State of the Education Profession Survey results, over 82 percent of teachers know a teacher that has left in the last three years. The main reason teachers have left includes a lack of support and pay, disrespect, student behavior and classroom support. In order to recruit and retain quality teachers; better pay, less paperwork and increased support from all stakeholders must be addressed.
Missouri teachers feel safe in their classrooms according to the 2019 MSTA School Safety Survey, but an alarming number of teachers have witnessed a form of violence directed toward themselves or another educator. New school safety measures must include not only school infrastructure, but also the behaviors and response to behaviors that occur in the classroom.
A secure and stable defined-benefit retirement program is vital to recruiting and retaining highly qualified and effective educators. Actuarially sound improvements to the system continue to strengthen the Missouri public educators’ financial futures. MSTA supports transitioning work after retirement from a limit on the number of hours worked to an earnings limit for Public School Retirement System (PSRS) will further simplify burdensome requirements on employees and districts.
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