With the August primaries now over, it is time for administrators to begin to turn their attention to the November election and an issue that is going to vital to the future of public education in the state of Missouri. That is Amendment 3.
Yesterday (8/5), the Missouri Secretary of State certified Amendment 3 for the upcoming general election in November. This means that the amendment will be voted on this coming fall. Amendment 3 is an amendment to our Constitution being initiated by Rex Sinquefield. Thus far Mr. Sinquefield has donated more than $1 million just to hire people to collect the requisite number of signatures necessary to put this question on the ballot in November. After yesterday’s news from the Secretary of State’s office, he was successful and Amendment 3 will be on the ballot in November.
What is Amendment 3?
If Amendment 3 were to pass then…
Effective beginning July 1, 2015, any school district receiving any state funding or local tax revenue shall develop and implement a standards based performance evaluation system that must be approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
At least 50% of teacher’s evaluation shall be based upon quantifiable student performance data as measured by assessments and such evaluations shall be used in (1) retaining, promoting, demoting, dismissing, removing, discharging and setting compensation for certificated staff; (2) modifying or terminating any contracts with certificated staff; and (3) placing on leave of absence any certificated staff because of a decrease in pupil enrollment, school district reorganization or the financial condition of the school district.
Why you should care?
Amendment 3 will FOREVER change the way schools are run in the state of Missouri. It is important to note that if Amendment 3 were to pass and become a part of the Constitution. Only Missouri voters and not the General Assembly can change provisions of the Missouri Constitution.
Because new assessments must be created for every class offered in the state of Missouri, Amendment 3 could force taxpayers to spend millions on new government mandated standardized tests. The other option would be for districts to develop an evaluation system that evaluates every teacher, regardless of subject area, to have a majority of their evaluation based on student MAP test scores in English Language Arts and/or Mathematics.
Because it would be mandated that a teacher’s evaluation be utilized for all school board decisions relating to retaining, demoting, dismissing, removing, discharging, and setting compensation for certified staff, Amendment 3 essentially eliminates current salary schedules.
Because it is mandated that a majority of an evaluation be based on test scores, Amendment 3 will create a combative culture in school districts between teachers and administrators and act as a disincentive for principals to place their best teachers in classes and with the students that need the most assistance.
Because Amendment 3 would go into effect immediately (July 1, 2015), districts will have just seven months to prepare for the implementation.
What can you do about it?
The Missouri Association of School Administrators, the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals, the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals and the Missouri Association of Rural Education has joined with several other education groups including all three teachers organizations (NEA, MSTA, and AFT) to form the Campaign to Protect Our Local Schools.
We will not have the sort of money that proponents and Rex Sinquefield will contribute to pass Amendment 3 but we do have a vast network of superintendents, administrators, principals, teachers, board members, parents and community partners that can (and must) be activated if we are going to be successful in defeating Amendment 3 in November.
The campaign has hired staff to organize our efforts. It is very likely that administrators will be contacted by one of our regional field staff in the coming days or weeks.
You have likely already heard from some of your teachers in the past few weeks regarding this issue. You are encouraged to participate at your local level in a joint effort to defeat Amendment 3. If you have not been contacted by anyone within your district in order to organize your local effort, please let us or your professional organization know so that we can assist in getting the effort started.
It is important to note that for school district employees, Amendment 3 must be treated like any bond or levy issue in your local district. Unlike our efforts during the legislative session, public resources are prohibited from being utilized to advocate for or against Amendment 3.
You can expect more information from us, the campaign, and your various professional organizations in the coming days, weeks and month. In the mean time, you can stay up to date with the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted on Wed, August 6, 2014