Friday, February 25, 2011
Richard: Senate bill would create task force to study teacher effectiveness
In his weekly report, Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, looks at a Senate bill that would create a task force to study teacher effectiveness:
Much of our focus this year has been on economic development and attracting businesses to our state to create jobs, but we also need to focus on investing in our future workforce through education. One of the best investments we can make is in properly educating the next generation.
This week, the Senate worked on Senate Bill 13, a measure that focuses on evaluating the way we pay our teachers in this state. The bill would create a task force to meet this summer and fall to look at issues of teacher compensation and effectiveness. The panel would be made of 14 members including legislators, state officials, experts, and educational professionals. Discussions could include different methods of teacher evaluation, methods to improve effectiveness, and the best ways to share effective practices with educators throughout the state.
The purpose of Senate Bill 13 is to give lawmakers, state officials, and policy analysts the opportunity to work with teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals to discuss the issue of how educators should be compensated in order to get the best result in our classrooms. The task force would then work to submit a final report with their findings and recommendations by Dec. 31, 2011.
Senate Bill 13 brings to light an important issue for education in our state — we must continue to evaluate our system of education and find ways to make it more efficient and effective. Making sure that every student in the state, regardless of where they are, has access to a quality education is our goal, and there are many ways that we can continue to improve the system. In the Senate, we worked on this goal with the Rebooting Government initiative earlier this session, and we are now working on much of the legislation that came out of the education working group’s recommendations (you can view information on all of the rebooting government recommendations at www.senate.mo.gov/RebootMO).
Education is an issue that stretches across many areas — policy in K-12 classrooms, funding for elementary and secondary education, transportation to get students to and from school, scholarships to help students pursue a higher education, and funding for the state’s technical schools, colleges, and universities are just a few areas that are covered by the all-encompassing phrase “education.” In the Senate this year, there were 35 bills introduced that deal with elementary and secondary education alone, with another 12 proposing changes to higher education in the state. It is important that we examine these ideas and be open to ways we can pursue our goal of giving students in Missouri a world-class education.