Time is running out for Normandy schools in north St. Louis County to win extra funding from Missouri lawmakers this school year.
Normandy and Riverview Gardens have experienced an exodus this school year due to the student transfer law. Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told the House Budget Committee Wednesday that she expects the Normandy School District will be bankrupt by the end of the year.
Updated at 1:34 p.m., Mon., Jan. 13 with news of unexpectedly large turnout at Jefferson City meeting.
To reverse student performance in Kansas City that it calls “disastrous,” a consultant hired by Missouri education officials is proposing a makeover that would direct more money to individual schools, recruit outside nonprofit groups to run them and address non-academic needs such as health care, nutrition and even laundry services to prepare students better to learn.
A Missouri House subcommittee is considering whether to approve more money for student assessment tests under the new Common Core State Standards.
The standards are designed to put in place common nationwide achievement goals in math and language arts. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told committee members Tuesday that implementing the Common Core in Missouri has not cost the state any additional money, but that measuring student performance under the new standards will.
After four hearings in Normandy and Riverview Gardens, plus suggestions and plans and proposals from education groups and lawmakers from throughout Missouri, it’s time for state education officials to try to come up with a plan to help struggling school districts.
And Chris Nicastro, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, wants to make sure that whatever plan her department comes up with, that is the focus: helping underachieving students and schools succeed.
Missouri’s commissioner of education has been buffeted by two controversies that have led to calls for her resignation but also expressions of support from her bosses on the state board of education.
To explain the controversy swirling around Chris Nicastro, Missouri’s embattled commissioner of elementary and secondary education, state school board member Mike Jones invokes the words of a legendary Texan, Jim Hightower:
The only things you find in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos.
The crowd was a lot smaller at Wednesday night’s second hearing called by Missouri state school officials into the future of the Normandy school district, but its passion remained strong.
And its message was a simple one: Their school district deserves more time to turn itself around, so the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) should come up with a plan that stops students transfers and helps Normandy survive.
Despite a growing chorus for Chris Nicastro to leave her post as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the head of the state’s school board gave her a vote of confidence Monday and defended the selection of a consultant currently looking into the Kansas City schools.
Nicastro has come under fire in recent weeks, first for her consultation with an education advocacy group on its initiative petition that included changes in teacher tenure, then from a Kansas City Star story on Sunday.