To the editor:
During Judy Morgan’s 10-year tenure as the president of the Kansas City School District’s teacher’s union, she successfully negotiated higher teacher salaries and benefits while simultaneously presiding over the final demise of the district’s academic state accreditation.
Judy and others were also successful in continuous increases of school levies and state formula adjustments until the district achieved a level of more than $14,000 per pupil per year – a figure exceeded only by the St. Louis district at $15,000.
Flush with local success, Judy then ran for political office and today is known as State Representative Judy Morgan of Missouri’s 24th District. She now joins other legislators to impose her Kansas City system on other school districts. Her intellect is sharp and never deviates from the motto, “Get more money, spent it, get more money.” Others ask Judy about the larger picture. What about the effects of taxes on a competitive economy? What about the quality of teachers’ performance or about the students’ performance? Ms. Morgan has a ready answer: Get more money, spend it, get more money.
This year the Independence district’s high schools’ test scores slipped badly because, I think, the Morgan-style of school management has crept into our system. It is increasingly difficult to find the very best technical employees born and educated in this country, and because of that, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds the National Council on Teacher Quality. Their findings reveal that “U.S. teacher education programs are ... an industry of mediocrity.”
The 2013 Missouri Legislature attempted to pass an elementary and secondary education bill linking K-12 teacher tenure to performance. For a bill that should have been school boards’ and superintendents’ best friend, the education lobby was against it. It failed. Legislative and non-legislative measures must be tried if we are to get better.
All public employees from the beginning of time link poor performances to a need for more money. If that were true, Kansas City and St. Louis would have the best schools in the state. School boards are the taxpayer’s representatives and possess great resources, but they also have those in higher office to call upon to give them a free hand.
It is my intent to run for the Independence School Board at the first opportunity and implement the only two things the position was created for: First, to account for the taxpayers money; and second, require the district’s employees to improve academics.