With the Missouri legislature approaching its spring break, the Senate has passed a sweeping education bill designed to deal with struggling schools and transfers from unaccredited districts, and a bill addressing similar issues is ready for debate in the House.
Can schools cut back sharply on the number of tests that students have to take and still get a good idea of how well they are learning?
The state of Missouri is about to find out.
Missouri's state board of education has reduced the testing schedule dramatically — just a few months after approving a spending request for a testing schedule that would have had third graders taking seven hours of standardized tests each year, and high schoolers taking nine exams in four different subjects.
Missouri education officials say their plan that was the subject of public comment at a meeting Tuesday night is designed to prevent school districts from losing accreditation in the future.
But for most of the night, the speakers and the audience were more concerned with what is going to happen to a district that already is unaccredited and is in danger of going out of business altogether: Normandy.
Updated 5:35 p.m. Tues, Feb. 25, with response from Humphrey:
Terry Artis, an outspoken member of the Normandy School District, says voters should oust three of his incumbent colleagues at the April 8 elections because they are not working in the best interests of the district.
Updated at 10:26 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, with Nicastro letter.
News that state education officials have taken control of the finances of the Normandy School District was still sinking in Wednesday, but local board members who were willing to comment were clearly unhappy about losing the power of the purse.
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.
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.