Legislative Platform & Priorities
2021 Legislative Session
Students are at the center of Missouri NEA’s legislative platform and advocacy. MNEA’s leadership maintains that every child has a basic right to attend a great public school. MNEA strives to ensure that all students have the time and resources to learn, caring and qualified teachers, and an education that inspires their natural curiosity and desire to gain knowledge.
MNEA’s advocacy will focus on ensuring that legislators stand up for children and public education during the legislative session.
FUNDING MISSOURI SCHOOLS
Missouri NEA believes that access to an adequately and equitably funded public education must be clearly established as a fundamental right for every student. MNEA urges the legislature to support students and teachers with the resources they need by investing in early childhood education and extended learning time. The state lowered the funding requirement of the school funding law in 2016 by more than $300 million and now faces revenue shortfalls that may challenge funding even at this lower level.
MNEA supports adequate and equitable funding for public higher education institutions and increased funding for student financial aid. State funding for higher education has declined over the last decade, and this weakened support has forced Missouri public institutions to raise tuition for students in order to maintain program offerings and quality.
MNEA opposes further efforts to reduce state revenues and funding for schools across the state. The legislature has enacted several significant tax cuts in the last few years, and these tax cuts will continue to reduce the state’s ability to fund education and other vital services. MNEA supports efforts to make tax credits more accountable and reduce their harmful effect on Missouri’s state revenues.
FIXING THE BROKEN CHARTER SCHOOL LAW
MNEA believes that charter schools should be sponsored by and accountable to the local community through the elected school board and approved only after an impact study is conducted by the district to consider the proposal. School board
sponsorship ensures that the board can plan the use of all school funds and implement the services and programs that meet the needs of all students in the community.
MNEA also believes that all charter schools should be subject to the same standards of accountability, transparency, and respect for the rights of students, parents, and staff as are applicable to traditional public schools.
SUPPORTING THE REFORMS OF CLEAN MISSOURI
MNEA supports the comprehensive ethics reforms of Constitutional Amendment 1 from 2018, also known as Clean Missouri. MNEA will oppose legislation to reverse the reforms of Clean Missouri, weaken Missouri’s Sunshine Law or make it harder for citizens to bring forward policies through the initiative petition process.
SUPPORTING THE RIGHTS OF EDUCATORS
MNEA supports collective bargaining rights for all education employees to promote school environments where educators and students can excel. Despite MNEA’s vigorous opposition, the legislature passed H.B. 1413 in 2018. The bill contains many harmful provisions that could interfere with employee participation in unions and local control of public sector bargaining. The provisions of H.B. 1413 are currently blocked from implementation by a court order from the lawsuit filed by MNEA and other public employee unions. MNEA believes these harmful provisions should be repealed or overturned by a court of law.
PROTECTING PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDS FROM VOUCHERS
MNEA will continue to oppose tax-credit schemes to move public money to private schools. MNEA opposes these and similar proposals to divert public funds to private schools not subject to the same standards of accountability, transparency, and respect for the rights of students, staff, and parents as apply to public schools.
PROTECTING THE PUBLIC SCHOOL RETIREMENT SYSTEM
MNEA is committed to protecting Missouri’s quality Public School Retirement System and Public Education Employee Retirement System and will fight to protect the systems from any attacks during the 2020 session. MNEA opposes legislation to create an option for PSRS teachers to opt-out of the existing defined benefit plan and switch to a defined contribution plan. The long-term financial impact of such a bill would devastate PSRS-PEERS.
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How can you help?
You can help create a better future and support MNEA’s legislative effort by becoming an MNEA Education Advocate.
Education Advocates commit to one or all of the following:
- Coordinating back-home meetings with legislators.
- Attending Capitol Action Lobby Days and Legislative Forums.
- Participating in candidate screenings during the next election cycle.
- Staying connected through email alerts by subscribing to the Legislative Update and Education Advocates listservs.