The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would double the amount of time required for public school teachers to earn tenure.
Currently, a teacher has to work in the same school district for five years to earn tenure. The bill sponsored by State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) would expand that requirement to 10 years.
“As long as the teacher does not own their job, if you will, then they’re going to be really working to prove (themselves) and do a good job," Cunningham said. "It gives us five more years of encouraging and giving motivation to teachers to really produce.”
The bill would also do away with the practice of “last in, first out” when it comes to layoffs.
“What it (would do) is change it so they do it based not on seniority, like it is now, but based on effectiveness," Cunningham said. "However, once they have to hire back, they can only hire back from the group they let go…they can’t go to some rock-star new teacher that walks in the door.”
Cunningham’s bill originally sought to end teacher tenure, but she pulled it Wednesday in the face of strong opposition. The chair of the Senate Education Committee, David Pearce (R, Warrensburg), proposed doubling the tenure period as a compromise.
The bill now needs one more vote before moving to the Missouri House. Teachers who already have tenure would not be affected.