Legislative Priorities

Funding

The state legislature has finally fully funded the school foundation formula after years of underfunding by hundreds of millions of dollars. However, expectations of Missouri schools, teachers and students continue to rise. To account for lost state revenues, local taxpayers have increased their percentage of funding for schools. The state must work to close the funding gap for K-12 transportation, while maintaining full funding of the formula. “Full Funding for Education” must include the state meeting its obligation to pay the legally required reimbursement for transportation costs. MSTA also supports increased funding for early childhood education, parenting programs and family literacy programs.

  • MSTA supports helping students who have experienced adverse childhood events by incorporating trauma-informed initiatives, and professional development for trauma informed initiatives.
  • MSTA supports public charter school expansion 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 supports requiring all members of a public charter school board be required to be residents of the district which the charter school serves.
Teacher Salaries

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.

Recruitment and Retention

Many legislators and state leaders say that they want to attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession, but fail to provide adequate funding to address teacher recruitment and retention problems across Missouri.

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.

School Safety

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.

Teacher Retirement

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. 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.

Assessment and Evaluation Reform

The single biggest factor in the success of students is the teacher. MSTA believes that teacher input is vital to the continued success of our students. Local districts need to have the freedom to meet the needs of their communities without control by the state or federal education departments.

  • MSTA supports the use of locally developed assessments to improve instruction.
  • MSTA supports local control of public education by the district board of education and autonomy of the local school district to develop and adopt curriculum, assessments, evaluations and other programs to meet educational goals.
  • MSTA opposes any plan that would use student grades, student class performance or student performance on standardized tests as the single criteria to measure the merit of the teacher
Retirement and Social Security
  • 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 Social Security benefits.
  • MSTA opposes the Government Pension Offset as well as the Windfall Elimination Provision.
Federal Influence in Education
  • MSTA supports requiring existing funding and future increases in federal dollars be delivered directly to the local school district whenever possible and increased focus on distributing federal dollars back to the classroom.
  • MSTA opposes limiting the ability of employees to discuss working conditions with their employer.
  • MSTA opposes federal supersession over state and local responsibility for public education, including assessments that set standards and drive curriculum.
  • MSTA opposes any proposal to eliminate or weaken the teacher tenure law.
  • MSTA opposes school vouchers, education tax credits, or education savings accounts,that would divert public money to pay for homeschooling or private school tuition.
  • MSTA opposes merit pay, including the use of standardized test scores or other subjective criteria as a measurement of teacher performance or to determine further salary increases

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