Although kids may not be in the classroom, Missouri educators are still working this summer to prepare for the upcoming school year.
The National Education Association (NEA) is hosting a meeting July 1 through 5 to discuss pressing educational issues. Public school teachers, librarians, coaches and custodians are just some of the members of the Missouri NEA that are working to improve educational issues around Missouri. About 10,000 delegates from around the nation will be present at the NEA Representative Assembly this year.
Although Missouri’s 80 delegates will only represent a fraction of the total, Missouri NEA president, Chris Guinther, said that Missouri expects to make their voice heard.
"Any of our delegates that are there have the opportunity to participate in discussions and go to microphones, and so we want to be a part of the discussion as we talk about what issues impact us and how we want to be involved in school reform," Guinther said.
Guinther said that Missouri’s biggest educational issue is a lack of funding. She added that poverty, hunger and bullying are pressing issues for Missouri public schools. Currently, 47 percent of kids in the public school system are on free or reduced lunch programs.
She said educators cannot be expected to do their job and student learning will be negatively affected if public schools are not properly funded and supported.
"We really need to work with our legislatures so they understand the importance of the role of public education," Guinther said. "That that is the place, our public schools are the place, where every child in the state can come and get an education commensurate with his or her needs."
Guinther said educators must have a role in the decision making process to improve public schools. Recently, two Missouri educators were inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame. The Missouri teachers were two of five inductees. Guinther said that if the state could replicate these types of successes, there would be more good news for the state as a whole.