JEFFERSON CITY -- After hearing a one-hour presentation by CEE-Trust of its proposal on how to help struggling schools in Kansas City -- and possibly throughout Missouri -- members of the state board of education had an hour's worth of questions on their own.
Now, the process begins to combine the CEE-Trust report with other recommendations and suggestions from the public to determine the best way to proceed.
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.
Two topics dominated St. Louisans' news this week -- unusual cold and snow returned to our region and Missouri legislators returned to Jefferson City.
It would be snarky to ask which poses the greater threat to public welfare. Yet as the bad weather rolled out and the legislators rolled in, I couldn't help but notice certain parallels in the way we think about these natural and political phenomena.
Even as lawmakers and others got ready to craft possible changes to the transfer law, EducationPlus released guidelines for the next round of student transfers beginning this coming August.
The first round was a rushed affair. The Missouri Supreme Court did not uphold the transfer law until June 11, though the suit involved had been winding its way through the courts for several years and had already been upheld by the high court once.
As planning begins for school transfers in the St. Louis area in the academic year that starts in August, and Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City for the new legislative session, one issue will loom large for both groups:
What changes, if any, will come to the transfer law that has dominated so many headlines, discussions and school board meetings in recent months?
The next session of the Missouri Legislature opens Wednesday, January 8, and with it an uptick in political activity in the state.
Terry Jones, Founders’ Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis joined St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum in studio with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what to expect during the 2014 session.
Among the issues to keep an eye on this session will be the school transfer issue, Medicaid expansion and transportation tax.
Students are counting the days until winter break, but there's no break in sight in the controversies over school quality and student transfers.
In recent days, education reporters Tim Lloyd and Dale Singer took the lead in covering developments for the newly combined news operations of St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon. Their work was a good example of how we can serve you better together.
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.
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.