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Report Card Evaluates Missouri Education Policies

JEFFERSON CITY – Today, national education group StudentsFirst published its 2014 State Policy Report Card. Rather than rank states based on current student achievement levels, the report card evaluates whether states have the right policy environments in place to best raise academic levels from where they are today.
Results show that Missouri –with its grade of a “D”– lags behind many other states. In order to improve the policy environment, Missouri should enact laws that help districts and schools keep effective teachers in the classroom and ensure families have high quality school choice options.
“Education has become a hotly debated topic in the Show-Me State. Education leaders, community members, and policymakers are discussing issues around teacher quality and access to great schools,” said Kit Crancer, Missouri State Director for StudentsFirst. “This report card further underscores the fact that Missouri needs to enact policies that will ensure every child in Missouri – whether they live in Kansas City, St. Louis or somewhere in between – is receiving a high quality education.”
Last year StudentsFirst members across the state advocated for student-centered policies. With the conversation around teacher and school quality growing, parents are evaluating the policies in place and studying states that are finding success.
“Research has shown that an excellent education system means investing in teacher quality, empowering parents, raising standards, and spending school dollars efficiently and effectively. Places like Tennessee, Indiana and the District of Columbia have invested in these types of policies and as a result their students have seen tremendous academic growth,” said Jeremiah Morris, a parent from Joplin. “We must use this report card to build momentum for change. Students can’t reach their full potential until adults create an education system that gives them the tools and resources to succeed.”
The State Policy Report Card is an in-depth, state-by-state study of education policies in three areas: elevating and improving the teaching profession, empowering parents with information and choice, and ensuring public dollars are being spent wisely in ways that help students learn. StudentsFirst has selected these areas because research has shown they have a significant impact on student learning.
StudentsFirst released this report card so parents, educators, and policymakers know how Missouri compares to other states in these policy areas and have the information they need to advocate for policies that ensure our education system is serving kids well.
Matt Burke, a parent and teacher from Ellington, added, “All too often in Missouri and across the country, a child’s zip code determines the quality of their education. This is simply unacceptable. As a parent, I believe that all children deserve access to high quality education. This report should be a wake-up call to policymakers and parents alike that we need to improve Missouri’s education policies.”
The 2014 Missouri State Policy Report Card can be viewed, downloaded and compared to other states on the StudentsFirst report card web site here: http://press.studentsfirst.org/page/m/220faf4f/3691c463/174cf1bf/651427d0/1392673996/VEsE/ .
For more information about Missouri’s State Policy Report Card or StudentsFirst in Missouri contact Emily Yager at mailto:eyager@studentsfirst.org
StudentsFirst is a bipartisan grassroots movement of more than 2 million citizens nationwide working to ensure educators are valued for the critical role they play in kids’ lives, families have high-quality school choices and a real say in their children’s education, and our tax dollars are spent wisely on what works for kids. Led by former Washington D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst is active in 18 states and has successfully helped pass more than 110 student-centered policies across the country. For more information visit www. studentsfirst.org.

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