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      Teacher's group against 'last in, first out' bill

      The Missouri Legislature is sent a bill to Governor Nixon that permits charter schools in all Missouri school districts. St. Louis and Kansas City have had them for years and expansion of the program was a hot item as the legislative session winds down. One education bill is still pending in the senate that would change the way school districts lay off teachers during tough financial times. KRCG 13's Daniel Winn explains what the "last in, first out" bill could mean for school districts. "Experience has to count", said Chris Guinther, the President of the Missouri National Education Association. From the Dr. Seuss doormat, to the cat in the hat box on her desk, the minute you walk into Guinther's office you can tell she's a teacher. She's also leading the charge to stop House Bill 1526 that would end the "last hired, first fired" policy for school districts. She told us, "If you're going to a patient, you're not going to go to the newest doctor because that's the person who is right out of school, you're going to want a doctor with some experience". She said school districts already have procedures in place to decide which programs and positions need to be kept in times of financial crisis. Senator Jane Cunningham of St. Louis disagrees, "Right now state law says if you, let's say you hire Albert Einstein, and you just hired him, and then you have to have a lay off for financial reasons and population decline you would have to fire Albert Einstein first so the last person you hire has to be the first out"...."we believe districts ought to be able to determine which teachers they hire and fire based on effectiveness of the teacher rather than just seniority". But Guinther said seniority is just one piece of the pie, not the whole pie, "Experience counts but it has to be high quality experience with high quality evaluations". Guinther said the NEA and several other teacher groups submitted their own legislation to make high quality teacher evaluations but it just never got support. House Bill 1526 has cleared the house and is awaiting formal debate in the senate. Also Tuesday, lawmakers sent the governor new legislation prohibiting workers from suing each other for accidental on-the-job injuries. And the senate sent the governor a bill to add cell pones to the no call list for telemarketers.