MAESP Priority Issues
The Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) represents elementary and middle level school principals in the state of Missouri. The following issues are priority areas for 2021-2022.
1. Mental Health and Trauma – MAESP is concerned about the increasing number of students impacted by childhood and family trauma as well as the current COVID19 pandemic. The increasing needs of students with mental health issues elevates mental health as a priority issue. MAESP supports legislation that:
a. facilitates flexible and collaborative partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies, private providers, and schools to meet students and families social and emotional needs.
b. allows for blended funding and flexible use of all resources to support effective school and community programs and interventions.
c. Provides for increasing the number of school psychologists, counselors, and social workers to support students and trauma-informed environments.
2. Funding - MAESP supports continued full funding of the Missouri Foundation Formula. Missouri funding for public education is down more than 400M over the last six months and restoring funding for PreK-12 education as well as categoricals including transportation, the public placement fund, Parents as Teachers, early childhood education, and professional development, reduced in recent years must be a priority. In addition, increasing average teacher pay to make Missouri more competitive with surrounding states for recruiting and retaining an excellent teacher workforce should move higher on the legislative priority list.
3. School Choice - MAESP opposes any legislation that would divert revenue from traditional public schools to non-public educational entities. Privately-run charter schools, education vouchers, and voucher tax credits divert funds from public schools, erode the foundation of public education, and lack proper accountability and oversight by a publicly elected board.
4. High Quality Staff Shortage - MAESP is concerned about the real shortage of high- quality certified and non-certified staff across the state. This shortage of educators will likely worsen as teachers, leaders and non-certified support staff choose to leave a profession that has increased in responsibility and complexity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing support for both certified and non-certified staff during this challenging time will be important for maintaining high standards and a quality learning experience for every child. Teacher salaries must be improved to attract the best and the brightest into the field of education and improving teacher pay must include increasing every teacher salary by a significant amount to raise the average teacher salary across Missouri. In addition, moving the mandated beginning teacher salary to at least $32,000 would be important in leveling the field for many rural districts
MAESP opposes legislation that would:
a. limit local control over teaching and learning.
b. increase the emphasis and influence of high stakes standardized testing.
c. reduce or eliminate current retirement benefits and incentives.
d. regulate the profession in ways that would discourage the best and brightest from entering the profession.
5. Reduce Emphasis on Standardized Assessment – MAESP believes there is too much emphasis on state-mandated assessments. Any state assessments should require a limited amount of time to administer, aligned to the Missouri Learning Standards, be at a level appropriate for each student required to take it, and primarily used for determining gaps in district curriculum and instruction. Results should be considered a “snapshot” of student performance in each content area. We support a local accountability model for determining school and district performance, school progress and student achievement. MAESP opposes the use of student performance data from the state assessment as a significant factor for determining teacher or principal effectiveness. Finally, MAESP is concerned about local districts and schools being accountable for student performance on state tests when not solely responsible for the instruction.