In a Jan. 20 action bulletin, Missouri State Teachers Association Executive Director Kent King explains teacher tenure and the new petition effort to eliminate it.
MSTA opposes this petition and any attempt to eliminate teacher tenure. Teachers play a vital role in educating students and must be protected from arbitrary terminations to do their jobs properly.
Teacher tenure at the K-12 level in Missouri is unrelated to the tradition of giving college professors permanent employment, says MSTA Executive Director Kent King. Tenure in Missouri does not guarantee that teachers cannot be fired, but provides teachers due process when faced with job-threatening accusations. Tenure does not bar diligent administrators from removing incompetent teachers.
"The supporters of this petition are playing a political game with the careers of professional educators in Missouri and the sad reality is they don't have a strong grasp on the rules of the game," King says. "If anything, the protections given to Missouri teachers should be stronger.'
Ellinger has represented two groups financed by Rex Sinquefield, a Missouri resident who has fought teacher tenure. Ellinger has said Sinquefield supports his petition but is not involved in leading the effort, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.