By Ashleigh Costello
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri state senators approved legislation Thursday that would allow tenured teachers in St. Louis to be dismissed for “incompetence.”
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a Democrat who sponsored the bill (SB125), said the goal was “to ensure that effective teachers remain in their positions while allowing struggling teachers to move on to new opportunities.”
As it stands, teachers in St. Louis can be fired for “inefficiency,” but not incompetence.
Nasheed said the bill would also expedite the dismissal process. Instead of getting a semester’s notice, St. Louis teachers would receive notice 30 days prior to the start of termination proceedings, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“This will put us on the same playing field as every other school district,” Nasheed said.
The bill was opposed by both the AFL-CIO and the local branch of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFL-CIO said it planned to use the vote on the bill to determine whether legislators are pro-labor when election time comes, reports the news site.
Despite such threats, the bill passed the Senate 33-1. Sen. Gina Walsh, a union member, was the lone exception.
Sen. Kiki Curls said the bill was not about “a lack of respect for teachers,” but rather fixing “a system that happens to be broken.”
The bill will now move to the state House.