At today’s State Board of Education (Board) meeting, board members voted to establish the group’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The priorities were developed by the board’s three-member Legislative Priorities Subcommittee and presented to the entire board today for adoption. The legislative priorities center on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE’s) priority areas and mission, which are:
- Educator Recruitment and Retention
- Safe and Healthy Schools
- Success-Ready Students and Workforce Development
- Early Learning and Early Literacy
- Providing Access to Opportunity
At the top of the State Board of Education’s list of key legislative priorities: addressing the growing educator recruitment and retention issues affecting public education. Board members specifically want to see the minimum teacher salary increased from its current $25,000 per year to at least $35,000 per year by the beginning of the 2024-25 school year. The board also intends to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to make recommendations on teacher recruitment and retention solutions and opportunities.
“When compared to other states, Missouri is at or near the bottom when it comes to what we pay our teachers — both when they enter the profession and as they advance throughout their career,” said State Board of Education President Charlie Shields. “Our eight border states have made headway in addressing teacher pay in recent years, while Missouri has remained stagnant. DESE 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.”
Other legislative priorities include, but are not limited to:
- Addressing the digital divide in the state
- Exploring alternatives that replace the traditional time-based education system with a competency based system
- Supporting policies focused on developing intrapersonal and interpersonal skills for students that build resilience and employability skills
- Requiring the use of an integrated advising system that connects career advising with academic support consistently across secondary and postsecondary institutions
- Phasing in a plan to allow local education agencies to count 100 percent of 4–5 year olds in early learning programs in their calculation of Average Daily Attendance in the foundation formula
- Examining best practices for voluntary open enrollment, allowing students to attend the public school of their choice regardless of attendance boundaries
Click here to view the full list of the State Board of Education’s 2022 legislative priorities.