Teachers

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

St. Louis Public School teachers should be getting a little extra money just in time for the holidays.  But their long-term salary trajectory remains unknown.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 members voted Thursday night to accept the district’s latest offer: a one-time lump sum in next Friday’s paychecks and an across-the-board two percent raise next school year. Teachers will receive an extra $1,400 next Friday; aides and clerical staff will receive $1,100.

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

Missouri needs to strike a balance between making sure that all teachers are prepared to enter the classroom and that minorities and women are treated fairly by tests that certify them to teach.

That balance was a main topic of discussion Tuesday at a joint meeting in Columbia between the state Board of Education, which represents interests of K-12 school districts, and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, which governs public colleges and universities in the state.

teacher with two young children
U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we learned about a St. Louis Science Center program that helps teens learn science, technology, engineering and math skills. Ahead of that segment, we asked listeners about memorable STEM experiments, classes and learning moments. Here’s what they told us. (Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

Teachers Kimberly Merrill, far left, and Catherine Moore, Home Works executive director Karen Kalish, and principal Cameron Coleman discuss the Home Works teacher home visit program with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 15, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Positive relationships between teachers, students and parents lead to success. That’s the idea behind Home Works’ teacher home visit program.

Teachers in the Home Works program attend two training session, then work in pairs to go to two home visits each year for each student. Twenty seven St. Louis-area schools are following the program: three early childhood centers, 17 elementary schools, six middle schools and two high schools, program founder Karen Kalish told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday.

Vashon High School freshman Rochelle Mason joined other students in a walk-out over substitute teachers and quality resources.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

About 100 students from St. Louis' Vashon High School walked out of classes Friday morning to demand more full-time teachers and better textbooks.

The students also were upset about certain school policies and the hiring of a new principal.

Vashon has been under scrutiny after it earned only 28 percent of available points on the most recent report card from the state.

Substitute teachers 

knittymarie / Flickr

Updated at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

Highland Education Association (HEA), the teachers union for Highland Community Unit School District # 5 in the Metro East, has set a strike date for Thursday, Sept. 11.

The union set the strike date following Friday's mandatory contract negotiation scheduled by a federal mediator. The mediator has scheduled another negotiation session for Monday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A joint Missouri House/Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on whether the state's teacher tenure system is working.

Among those testifying was Mark Van Zandt, General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  He says tenured teachers can be held accountable under the current system.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

A group of educators is suing the state of Missouri over a proposed constitutional amendment requiring tenure for public school teachers be based on performance, not seniority.

Mo. House Communications

The sponsor of a bill that would allow Missouri teachers to be armed in classrooms says if passed, it won't lead to "people running around with guns drawn, acting like Rambo."

The proposal by State Representative Mike Kelley (R, Lamar) is just one of several aimed at protecting school kids in the wake of last week’s mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Kelley says there’s a lot of misconception out there about his bill.

Jane Cunningham official website

A long-time St. Louis County lawmaker is leaving office this year because her Senate district was moved to the Kansas City area.  Republican Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield has spent eight years in the Missouri House and four in the Senate, making a name for herself as an outspoken social conservative. 

During her last visit to the Capitol as an elected official last week, she sat down with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin to talk about her record in office and where she goes from here.

Education reform & Proposition C

The intractable issues that led to the teachers' strike in Chicago are being argued about in states and school districts across the country.

The past decade has been a time of enormous ferment in education policy, with numerous new ideas and approaches being promoted by everyone from conservative think tanks to the well-heeled Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Obama administration officials.

(web/Edwardsville School District)

Teachers in the Edwardsville, Ill. School District have voted to reject the district's last contract offer, setting the stage for a possible strike.

The contract rejection allows the EEA to file an official notice of intent to strike with the state's Educational Labor Relations Board.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

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.”

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

A group of educators led by the Missouri National Education Association says its confident it can strike a deal with lawmakers to settle confusion over a new state law governing how students and teachers interact using social media like Facebook.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

Administrators of a southwestern Illinois school district say financial problems have forced them to lay off or not renew the contracts of 71 employees, including more than five dozen teachers.

Cahokia School District 187's board made the move during a special meeting Monday night.

The laid-off workers include 62 teachers, two teachers' aides, a school psychologist and a social worker.

comedy_nose / Flickr

The Cahokia School Board will meet tonight to decide whether to lay off up to 70 teachers because of a budget deficit.

School officials have said that lower tax revenues and delayed state payments have left Cahokia's budget about $1 million in the red. Brent Murphy, president of the Cahokia Federation of Teachers, says he hopes that reducing instructors and other staff is not the only solution.

Some Missouri lawmakers say the state should do away with its tenure system for teachers and make students' academic performance a big part of their evaluations.

A House panel heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that would require 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation to be based on students' scores on state tests. Teachers would not be guaranteed salary increases based on their classroom experience. The changes would take effect in July 2012.