JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri has already adopted and begun to implement the Common Core State Standards, but a group of diehard opponents urged the state board of education Tuesday to follow what they said is the lead of other states and reconsider.
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.
Public schools in Kansas City, Missouri, will remain unaccredited.
The State Board of Education on Tuesday chose to take no action on a request by Kansas City Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green to grant provisional accreditation, based on this year's assessment scores in which the district placed within the provisional range. But State Board President Peter Herschend says there hasn't been sufficient improvement sustained over a period of time.
Rev. Stan Archie submitted his resignation to Governor Jay Nixon (D) two days after Archie was hit by a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual misconduct. It’s the second such lawsuit filed against the long-time Kansas City pastor and State Education board member. It accuses him of having sexually inappropriate conversations with a female minor whom he was counseling, giving her money and gifts, and later harassing her after she ended their relationship.
Legislation has been filed in the Missouri Senate that would lay the groundwork for restoring an elected school board for the city of St. Louis.
The city's school district regained provisional accreditation last September, and if it can maintain it for a full year, the bill would then require that a locally elected school board replace the state-appointed board on July 1st, 2014. It’s sponsored by State Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D, St. Louis).
St. Louis schools lost their accreditation five years ago and were soon after placed under state control, but they have improved over the past two years. In 2010 they only met 3 out of 14 performance standards, with six being the minimum require for provisional accreditation. Last year they met the minimum six, and this year they’ve met seven performance standards. State Board Member Peter Herschend (R) says, though, there’s no guarantee the vote will go St. Louis’s way.
Updated 1:28 p.m. to reflect that eleven states have already been granted waivers.
The Missouri Board of Education has approved the state's request for a waiver from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Members voted Tuesday to support the waiver's submission to the U.S. Department of Education with minor edits. Last fall, President Barack Obama said states will be allowed to seek a waiver from the law, which requires all students to show proficiency in math and reading by 2014.
Missouri's college loan agency plans to start collecting payments in October from students who got loans from the federal government.
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority says it is the first state-based nonprofit organization to be approved to handle federal loan payments since a 2010 law required the U.S. Department of Education to originate all federally backed student loans. That law essentially eliminated a role for banks and private lenders.
The reasons for the action include a decline in meeting academic standards and a failure to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning. Chris Nicastro is Commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.