Teach Great is both the informal name for Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3 and the name of the educational advocacy group that has initiated the amendment. Amendment 3, which focuses on teacher evaluations and standardized testing, will be on the general election ballot on November 4th, 2014.
To understand the amendment, it helps to understand what Teach Great (the initiative) and TeachGreat.org (the organization) stand for.
Teach Great – The Initiative
Teach Great, the initiative, advocates for three areas of educational change in Missouri: changes to teacher evaluations, changes to how the results of those evaluations will affect teacher pay and retention, and contracting and collective bargaining rights for Missouri’s teachers.
The Teach Great initiative is unpopular among Missouri’s professional educators and administrators, who argue that the amendment will take local control away from schools and that it will result in expensive and ineffective increases in standardized testing.
Andrea Flinders is the President of the Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel. She told the Kansas City Star that she sees the Teach Great Initiative as “a fight”, saying that Teach Great threatens local control of school boards. “We still have to educate the public. The devil is in the details,” she said.
TeachGreat.org – The Organization
TeachGreat.org, the organization, exists to advocate in favor of the “Teach Great” Amendment (Amendment 3). It was founded by—and has received more than $1.7 million in funding from—activist Rex Sinquefield.
According to TeachGreat.org, the organization’s mission is to: “…reward and protect good teachers, ensure administrators are able to support struggling teachers, and make it easier for schools to hire great teachers”. (source)
Missouri’s teachers, however, argue that Teach Great does anything but reward and protect good teachers or enable administrators to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Educators Stand Up Against “Teach Great”
The Missouri Association of School Administrators, the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals, the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals, the Missouri Association of Rural Education, the Missouri State Teachers Association, and the American Federation of Teachers are just some of the organizations that are standing up against Teach Great.
The Missouri Retired Teachers Association (MRTA), which is among those professional organizations advocating against Constitutional Amendment 3, has acquired “NoOnMO3” quotes from a number of retired Missouri teachers.
Barbara Self, a retired teacher from Republic, Missouri, is a member of the MRTA. She told the Caldwell County News that Amendment 3 is the wrong way to educate Missouri’s students:
After realizing that Amendment 3 was not polling well with voters in Missouri, Teach Great called off its formal campaign efforts. The organization intends to launch a listening campaign around Missouri, during which it will hear what local communities have to say about improving education in Missouri.
Although the organization has halted its campaign for Amendment 3, however, the amendment remains on the November 4th general election ballot. Parents, educators, administrators, and concerned community members are encouraged to continue to learn more about Amendment 3, and to vote no in the general election on November 4th.
Helping You Stay Informed
Missouri Parent will continue to report on Amendment 3 and how efforts by political advocacy groups like Teach Great affect public education in Missouri. Stay tuned as we will soon publish a feature on the Protect Our Local Schools organization.
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