As most of you know, our ballot in November will contain a proposed CONSTITUTIONAL amendment that if passed would affect how we educate our kids. Proposed by a St. Louis based group using the name “Teach Great,” it would require a school district, even if using only LOCAL tax revenues, to obtain state approval for, and to use, “a standards based performance evaluation system” that is “based upon quantifiable student performance data as measured by objective criteria” for all decisions affecting the hiring, firing, promotion, and compensation of teachers.
The amendment does not define “standards-based”, “quantifiable student performance data”, or “objective criteria.” What it does do is limit the ability of local school communities to decide for themselves how to best hire, support, encourage, retain or dismiss their teachers. Last Thursday the Columbia Board of Education voted to oppose Amendment 3. Among their reasons were that it would (i) have many unintended consequences for the students and teachers at CPS, (ii) place an additional financial burden on our schools by requiring additional standardized tests (which cost money to implement!) at a time when our schools are underfunded, and (iii) by requiring state approval for these tests before even local funds could be used, put control of our local taxpayer dollars in the hands of the state.
You can read the full resolution here: Board Resolution on Amendment 3, September 18, 2014. You can obtain additional information and review a list of other districts that have adopted resolutions opposing Amendment 3 at http://www.protectourlocalschools.com/
As of this posting, the “Teach Great” organization has taken down its website and announced that it won’t “promote” the amendment further. However this amendment remains on the ballot. Please inform yourself on these issues, talk with your friends and neighbors, and VOTE on November 4.