Education bill continues going no where – State Senators less talking and more doing

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Missouri News Horizon
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State lawmakers are talking about education reform – but that’s all they’ve done so far.

A bill that would let the state of Missouri takeover the administration of unaccredited school districts in a timelier manner has been mired in debate all this week in the Senate.

As the session winds down, many lawmakers are using this debate to try and attach other education provisions to the bill that might otherwise not make it to the Senate floor for debate this year.

Several of the changes would affect the way teachers get tenure and how they’re paid, including a proposal to double the amount of time it takes a Missouri public school teacher to qualify for tenure from five to 10 years.

But Sen. Tim Green, D-St. Louis, says teachers are bearing too much of the blame in the debate.

“I have been to a lot of the schools in the Riverview Gardens School District,” Green said. “It’s not all the teachers’ fault. Okay? We need to quit blaming the teachers because I tell you what, there’s a lot of teachers that give their heart and soul to those kids.”

Riverview Gardens is a non-accredited school district in north St. Louis County.

Still other proposed changes would make it easier for students to transfer out of failing districts and into neighboring accredited school districts. However, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Kirkwood, wants to make sure receiving school districts aren’t overwhelmed.

“Allow for some reasonable criteria for receiving districts to determine the number of slots available for students who are coming from unaccredited districts,” Schmitt said.

Debate on the education bill ended yesterday with no final vote taken.