The Columbia Missourian reports our own Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, a candidate for U. S Congress, and Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, a candidate for state auditor, wrote a letter to the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, saying that money for the Career Ladder program may be cut. Nodler and Icet are the chairmen, respectively, of the Senate and House budget committees:
Nodler, R-Joplin, said Friday there is no opposition to the program. It's just a matter of being able to pay back the district since state revenue is down.
“If you are going to do this, do this in a way that you won't make promises to teachers that you can't keep,” said Nodler, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Career Ladder funding is used to pay for teachers for after hour tutoring programs, homework centers, educational extracurricular activity sponsorship, and attendance at seminars and workshops that are not covered under the teachers' regular contracts, in other words, exactly the kind of things that are necessary to keep children in school and improve the quality of education. Teachers become eligible for Career Ladder after they have taught five years in Missouri. It was set up as a means of improving the pay level of veteran teachers, who are often the ones who receive short shrift as schools continue to improve the pay level for beginning teachers.
Admittedly, I am prejudiced on this subject. I receive $3,000 each year from Career Ladder, which I earn through a number of activities including sponsoring the school academic team, sponsoring a journalism club, serving as chairman of the school's Writing Improvement Committee, and serving on the Discipline Committee, as well as attending numerous after-school meetings.