Iowa Teacher Protection
Teachers in Iowa do not have tenure. In Iowa, there isn't "job security for life" like many teachers may have thought. The decision to terminate a teacher in Iowa is left to school districts. If they find "just cause" they can fire a teacher.
The Iowa Supreme Court has defined "just cause" to mean "one which directly or indirectly significantly and adversely affects what must be the goal of every school system: high quality education for the district's students... It must include the concept that a school district is not married to mediocrity but may dismiss personnel who are neither performing high quality work nor improving in performance.
'Just cause' cannot include reasons which are arbitrary, unfair or generated out of some petty vendetta." Which basically means that even if a teacher doesn't get along with their administration, they cannot just be terminated for something petty such as not being liked.
Missouri Teacher Protection
Unlike Iowa, Missouri is a state that does have tenure for teachers. Teachers in Missouri acquire tenure by working in the same school district for at least five years. When teachers receive their 6th consecutive contract is when they get tenure. The local school district has no discretion in whether to award or withhold tenure if these conditions are met.
If you were employed full time as a teacher in another school system for at least two consecutive years, your current school district must waive one year of the probationary teaching requirement. You will acquire tenure after four consecutive years of full-time employment as a teacher in the same district.
Iowa vs. Missouri Tenure Guidelines
Iowa- There aren't established tenure laws. Teachers can be fired for "just cause" without warning. There isn't a teacher union, but there is an organization called the Professional Educators of Iowa that teachers can buy into for liability insurances and alternate protection.
Missouri- There are established tenure laws. Teachers can be involuntarily terminated If the teacher has a physical or mental condition that renders him or her unfit to instruct or associate with children, for immoral conduct, for incompetence, inefficiency or insubordination in the line of duty, for willful or persistent violation of Missouri’s school laws or the local school district’s published policies or regulations, for excessive or unreasonable absences and for conviction of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Teachers are allowed to file due process if they're terminated. School districts must notify teachers of contracts for the next year by April 15th.
I would feel more protected teaching in Missouri. I like knowing that after five years, I'd be tenured in a district. For some reason, I thought for years that it was something old teachers got after decades of teaching. It's nice to know that it only requires 6 consecutive contracts to be tenured in Missouri districts. I also like knowing that there is the option of due process if I felt wrongfully terminated. In Iowa, it didn't seem like there were many options to support teachers.