Mo. House panel OKs teacher evaluation bill

A measure that would impose stricter evaluations for Missouri teachers based on student achievement advanced from a legislative panel Monday, days after the House speaker removed two of his Republican colleagues for blocking the bill.

The legislation would require school districts to implement an evaluation system for teachers and administrators that would be used as the basis for employment decisions. School personnel would be classified on a four-part scale ranging from highly effective to ineffective and evaluations would be conducted at least annually.

The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration.

Reps. Denny Hoskins, of Warrensburg, and Jeff Messenger, of Republic, had joined with Democrats to block the bill.

But last week, House Speaker Tim Jones ousted Hoskins and Messenger from the House Fiscal Review Committee. Jones said the two Republicans had policy objections to the teacher evaluation measure not fiscal concerns, which he said ran counter to the panel's purpose. He appointed two other Republicans – Reps. Kathy Swan, of Cape Girardeau, and Sony Anderson, of Springfield – to the panel, and they voted to advance the measure Monday.

For the committee to pass a defeated measure, legislative rules require a member who voted “no” to ask for the bill to be reconsidered at the panel's next scheduled hearing. Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, made that request during Monday's hearing. He said he agreed to make the motion after receiving assurances from House Republican leadership that he could offer amendments that would loosen some of the bill's requirements and keep intact certain teacher tenure protections.

“This is way of seeing what type of job they are doing. In my opinion, that is no different than any other job,” Ellington said.

Ellington said he wants to remove a provision that would require teachers to be fired if they received negative evaluations for three consecutive years. He said he believes his amendment will pass because enough Republicans have also expressed concerns about that part. A similar teacher evaluation bill was defeated in the House two weeks ago 102-55, with more than half of the chamber's Republicans opposing the measure.

He also wants to keep the so-called last-in first-out protection that requires school districts to lay off teachers with less seniority during budget crunches under current law. The bill would eliminate that seniority protection.

Teacher Evaluations is SB125. Legislature: