In October 2013, the Missouri House of Representatives Interim Committee on Education toured Missouri in a series of public education hearings.
Representatives talked with communities across the state about issues surrounding Missouri K-12 public education, and on December 2, 2013, the Committee published a report summarizing the process, locations & dates, and findings from the statewide hearings.
As the Missouri Legislature reconvenes this week, we provide a brief overview of its findings and recommendations:
The Committee recommends, at a minimum, limiting tuition to a single amount. In addition, the Committee recommends statutory changes that would prescribe scope of control over acceptable numbers of and conditions for student transfers
Early Childhood Education
“The most enthusiastically recommended and most often mentioned possibility for long term improvement of academic achievement was early childhood education.”
“...the budget and appropriations committees will need to determine the scope of any possible increase [in funding] and decide if existing methods of fund delivery are sufficient.”
School Calendar and Extended Learning
An overall increase in learning time for every student, especially for struggling students and districts is recommended by the Committee.
Career and Technical Education (CTE)
“Career and technical education is the state’s best channel for providing the foundation for a good job that might not require a bachelor’s degree.”
The Committee hopes that changes to the CTE governance and communication structures (in SB 9 (2013)) will remedy parent and teacher concerns that MSIP standards don’t recognize the value of CTE programs.
“Services to address problems such as hunger, bad vision, and medical conditions that hinder academic achievement can make an enormous difference in a student’s life…To be most effective, they must be fine-tuned to each district’s circumstances.”
Parent-Community-School Relationships and Transparency
“Good schools reach out to the community and parents…Schools that meet parents more than halfway usually get better results.”
The state’s job in virtual learning, “is to safeguard the quality of the instruction and curriculum while providing access to more students for more subjects.”
“The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has raised the bar for teacher education and principal/administrator development programs requiring more rigorous standards…Changing teacher preparation standards goes hand-in-hand with changing student standards and assessments, and evaluations.”
Teachers voiced a desire to see evaluations consistently and fairly administered. “More walk-throughs with quick feedback work better than observing a teacher once for an hour…Developing the capacity of principals and others to provide useful feedback is a priority.”
“Ideally, effective teachers are coached into being more effective or coached out of the profession…Tenure has historically been linked with getting into the profession; however, the standards for staying in the profession and for continuous improvement of performance are a newer development.”
Common Core Standards and Assessments
“The most heated testimony heard by the committee concerned the Common Core State Standards initiative. It was apparent that a disconnect has occurred in two areas — the first, between some districts and some of their patrons, and the second, between the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the average Missouri parent.”
“The Committee remains concerned over the issue and will be watchful to protect the openness of all processes related to it, especially the statutory protection for curriculum as a local decision (160.514, subsection 3).”
“The Committee did not receive much testimony on school safety, despite a number of recent incidents of school violence in other states. The Committee’s hope is that the lack of testimony results from most parents believing their children are safe in the state’s schools.”
You can download and save a PDF of the Committee’s full report by clicking here.
Missouri Parent will be discussing all of these issues in greater depth, from our perspective, and through out the legislative session this year. For more about the Interim Committee on Education’s October 2013 education hearings, read these posts from the Missouri Parent Blog:
The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education October Hearings
Highlights of Recent Missouri Education Hearings
These Legislators Stood Strong for Public Education in Missouri