Education Policy Priorities

Raising Education Professional Salaries

MSTA supports a comprehensive program utilizing both legislation and the appropriations process to increase the minimum teacher salary to $42,000 as well as increases to all public education staff members. Education professional salaries must be addressed with support to local districts from the state.  Funds must also be available to help districts with salary schedule compression. 

MSTA supports continued state funding of the Career Ladder program, allowing educators to earn an additional stipend for engaging students in activities that enrich the student, school, and community.

The average teacher salary in Missouri is far below the national average and compared to other states, the average beginning teacher salary is one of the lowest in the United States. Missouri’s 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.

Full Transportation Funding

In 2022, the state legislature fully funded the school foundation formula, as well as the transportation reimbursement. The legislature is legally obligated to fully fund Missouri’s students, including full payments for reimbursable transportation costs to allow the best possible public schools in communities across the state.

MSTA opposes lawmakers slipping back into the past practice of underfunding public education in Missouri.

Educator Safety and Student Accountability

MSTA supports solutions to the problem of violence in schools, including alternative placement programs for students removed from the classroom due to behavioral concerns and efforts in providing funding for alternative programs in addition to the school foundation formula. 

MSTA supports clear and consistently applied discipline policies for student behavior that prioritize safe and productive learning environments for all students and education employees.  Students should be held responsible and accountable for maintaining a safe school environment.

MSTA supports increased involvement and responsibility by parents for their children’s attendance, performance, and behavior in public schools.

Missouri teacher surveys conducted by MSTA consistently show that the leading reason teachers consider leaving the profession are disrespect, student behavior, the lack of classroom support. These issues go beyond classroom management, and impact not only education staff, but other students in classrooms as well. According to the MSTA Educator Wellness survey, the leading factor for educator stress was student behavior.

 MSTA opposes legislative actions involving inter-district choice.  Open enrollment fails to serve the needs of all students in the community to receive a quality education, increasing student mobility while creating further funding inequities.

MSTA supports each school district developing a written policy for transfer and assignment of students within a district and to any other school district.

MSTA supports public charter school expansion when charters are granted by the local school board within an existing accredited Missouri public school district and requires all members of a public charter school board to be residents of the district in which the charter school serves. 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 expanding high speed internet access.

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 must have the freedom to meet the needs of their communities without being controlled by 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.

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.

Pandemic next steps:

MSTA strongly believes all students and staff have a right to a safe school environment.  Missouri education professionals have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, responding to a constantly changing environment to provide the best possible education to students. As professionals in public education, teachers and support staff must be involved in decisions affecting schools, students and communities. As school districts continue to evolve their plans for recovery from COVID-19, education professionals must continue to have a voice in the safety and wellbeing of those in the school community.   

MSTA supports local school districts developing, approving, and disseminating a local policy that prioritizes the health and safety of students and employees with input from school stakeholders and the community. The policy must describe the health and safety measures the district will take to mitigate and respond to public health threats, including what actions the school district will take in response to a confirmed contagious disease in the district.

MSTA opposes statewide student assessments and punitive measures against school districts, educators and funding during any pandemic or long-term closure.

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 state restrictions or limitations placed on any federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funding for public education that go beyond federal rule or law.

  • 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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