State Board of Education Asks Missouri to Study Open Enrollment and Increase Teacher Salaries in 22

The Missouri State Board of Education is asking the state Department of Education to study “best practices” for allowing students to attend public schools outside of their assigned districts, alongside a list of other priorities. and legislative proposals for 2022.

The board is also supporting a $10,000 increase in the minimum wage for teachers, mandatory school board meetings for parents to influence district agendas, and ways to change the teacher salary structure. The Missouri General Assembly will return to Jefferson City for its annual legislative session in January.

The encouragement for the state to consider open enrollment in schools comes as Republican lawmakers take aim at public education, criticizing its governance and programs and offering charter, private or home schooling as alternatives. Missouri students are currently placed in the district corresponding to their domicile.

A bill proposed last year would have allowed students to transfer districts but died in a Senate committee. He saw hesitation and backtracking from a number of lawmakers along the way, passing the full House with an 82-68 vote.

Education in Missouri: Springfield Public Schools Ask Lawmakers to Raise Teacher Salaries

The board is prioritizing methods for recruiting and retaining teaching talent in Missouri — primarily through raising the recommended minimum wage to $35,000 by 2024 from $25,000 a year now. The average starting salary for teachers in the Show-Me State ranks last among all US states, according to data collected last year by the National Education Association. Springfield Public Schools is also asking lawmakers to raise teacher salaries in their 2022 recommendations.

“Our eight border states have made progress in teacher compensation in recent years, while Missouri has remained stagnant,” State Board Chairman Charlie Shields said in a statement Tuesday. “The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is working to implement a wide variety of recruitment and retention strategies, but we must have legislative support to ensure Missouri students continue to have the best educators possible. in their classrooms.

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Other board proposals for recruitment and retention include a commission including both lawmakers and members of the private sector to make policy recommendations. He also wants a collaborative study to see if certain aspects of the teacher salary structure, including incentive pay, health benefits and salaries based on location and subject, can be changed.

The board also supports legislation that would require local school boards to hold annual meetings devoted to “allowing residents of the district an opportunity to provide input into the school curriculum for the district.” In recent months, some parents in Missouri and US school districts have expressed frustration and requested more information about how certain subjects, including US history and in particular race and equity , are taught in schools.

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Other recommendations set out in the council’s legislative platform include closing the divide between knowledge and student access to technology (commonly referred to as the “digital divide”) and increasing funding for school transportation.

The Missouri State Board of Education is made up of eight citizens appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No political party can hold a majority of seats, and members are evenly distributed among congressional constituencies.

Galen Bacharier covers Missouri politics and government for The News-Leader. Contact him at [email protected], (573) 219-7440 or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: MO School Board Wants Study on Open Enrollment and Raising Teacher Salaries

Sam D. Gomez