Missouri teachers outline legislative priorities at state Capitol
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
A group that advocates for Missouri's teachers lobbied legislators in the state Capitol on Tuesday to take action to retain experienced teachers and recruit talented new ones.
Recruiting new teachers and keeping old teachers were the number one priorities for the Missouri State Teachers Association as members headed to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers. Numbers from the state show half of Missouri teachers leave the profession in the first five years.
Missouri also has one of the lowest pay rates in the nation for starting teachers.
In order to attract more and get the existing teachers to stay, MTSA is asking for better pay. Gov. Mike Parson has called on lawmakers to continue for one more year the pay raises implemented last year. That grant program, in which local schools shared the cost, brought starting teacher pay up to $38,000 per year but has to be authorized each year.
Teachers are also against the so-called "Parents Bill of Rights" because some parts of it are unclear. Conservatives who favor the proposal say it gives parents more control over what their children are being taught in the classroom.
"The problem with the Parents Bill of Rights as it drafted now is every school district must submit its curriculum, we're not sure what 'the curriculum' actually means," said Mike Woods with MSTA.
The Parents Bill of Rights, originally introduced last year but not passed, will be up for a final vote in the Missouri Senate on Wednesday.