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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Panel on Teacher Hiring, Retention to Hold Public Meetings Across Missouri, Ending in Poplar Bluff

Portrait of African American female teacher holding digital tablet
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Missouri ranks last in the United States in the percentage of education funding provided by the state.

The Missouri state commission on teacher recruitment and retention has released its recommendations and will now be holding a series of public-engagement meetings around the state.

With elevated numbers of teachers leaving the field and reduced entrants into the profession at the college level, the Missouri State Board of Education's Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission was tasked with studying the issue and making recommendations to slow the attrition.

The Commission recently released a three-phase strategy featuring immediate, short-term, and long-term goals, with a number of recommendations on increasing teacher pay.

Mallory McGowin, chief communications officer for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the next step will be looking at elevating the profession.

"Really examining how to elevate the profession, provide more respect, look at working conditions," McGowin explained. "That's the step that the group will take next, and very likely start that work in early 2023."

Public engagement meeting dates can be found on the state board of education website, under Blue Ribbon Commission.

The commission recommended the State Board of Education establish future work groups to examine culture and climate within the teaching profession. When asked about professionalizing teaching, McGowin pointed to teachers having to do work at home in the evenings and used an analogy of an architect meeting with clients all day and then cooking dinner for the family, and going back to work at night to draw up plans. She noted it is not typical of our expectations of architects.

"That architect typically has hours built within their workday, where they're meeting with clients and then drawing up the plans and doing the subsequent work after that client meeting," McGowin stressed. "Teachers oftentimes don't have that."

The public engagement meetings will continue through Nov. 17, when the final one will be held at the Kay Porter Theatre, 1302 Victory Lane, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

A link to the Blue Ribbon Commission event information flyer can be found here.

Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.

Brett brings 7 years of radio news writing experience at Metro Source. His reporting expertise is in monetary policy, economic systems, resource distribution, rent-seeking, and neo-feudalism.