Government & Politics

Backers to drop Missouri campaign to end teacher tenure

The anti-tenure group Teach Great said Tuesday that it will not pursue an election campaign for a Missouri constitutional amendment that would end some teacher job protections.
The anti-tenure group Teach Great said Tuesday that it will not pursue an election campaign for a Missouri constitutional amendment that would end some teacher job protections. The Kansas City Star

Saying the timing is not right, the anti-tenure group Teach Great announced Tuesday that it will not pursue an election campaign for a Missouri constitutional amendment that would end some teacher job protections.

“While we still believe in the measure wholeheartedly … we will not be moving forward with Amendment 3 this year,” Teach Great spokeswoman Kate Casas said in a written statement.

Casas had spent several days traveling around the state, including visits in Kansas City last week, to promote the amendment and its reform ideas.

The proposed amendment will still appear on the ballot. It seeks to end tenure and require that decisions around the hiring, promoting, firing and laying off of teachers be determined by at least 51 percent on student performance measures.

Teach Great took on the task of gathering petition signatures and promoting the ideas that are championed by St. Louis financier Rex Sinquefield.

It remains to be seen if any other supporters of the reforms take up the campaign, which is up against strong opposition from teacher unions, administrator groups and school boards.

“I still see this as a fight,” said Andrea Flinders, the president of the Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel. “We still have to educate the public. The devil is in the details.”

She cited the loss of local control of school boards, the likely increase in testing and the costs of increased tests as primary concerns.

Teach Great will instead take off on listening tours across the state and try to build support for the proposed reforms, which Casas said reward and protect good teachers, support struggling teachers and make it easier for schools to hire more strong teachers.

To reach Joe Robertson, call 816-234-4789 or send email to jrobertson@kcstar.com.

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