Has MSTA’s Legislative Director Moved To Lake Wobegon?
Apparently the legislative director of the Missouri State Teacher’s Association (MSTA) has moved to Lake Wobegon. On the MSTA’s blog yesterday, Mike Wood mentioned some interesting “facts.” Wood noted: “Statewide test scores continue to improve. Only 4 states scored better than Missouri on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.” I am not sure how MSTA calculated that number; by my estimation, the facts seem a little less optimistic.
The National Center for Education Statistics webpage has NAEP data for each state. It shows that Missouri students ranked about average in comparison to students from the other states and the District of Columbia:
Fourth-grade reading: 32nd
Eighth-grade reading: 25th
Fourth-grade math: 28th
Eighth-grade math: 33th
Missouri is a wonderful state, but sadly, not every student is above average.
Wood made these statements to argue that the state does not need to remove teacher tenure. He notes that the current process for removing teachers is “concise and inexpensive” if handled properly. Make no mistake, however, MSTA does support tenure reform; tenure reform that benefits its members:
Indeed, there are reforms that can be made to the tenure law in Missouri. Currently, Missouri has the longest probationary period for teachers. MSTA would support the lowering of the probationary period to three years. Along with this, MSTA would support making changes to the hearings during the termination proceedings . . . MSTA would propose that hearings be held before an independent hearing officer. This would ensure that both the teacher and the school district present fair and relevant information for an impartial, trained, and qualified official who would then render a decision.
Apparently, to MSTA, tenure reform means making it easier to get tenure and more laborious to fire teachers. That type of system may be great if every teacher were above average, but sadly, we do not live in Lake Wobegon.