The state has compiled a list of Missouri’s 52 worst schools.

Forty-nine of those schools are in the St.Louis and Kansas City metro areas. Three of the Kansas City schools are among those the school board voted earlier this week to close. The three outstate schools are Caruthersville Middle School, The Colgan Alternative Resource Center in St. Joseph, and the Hayti High School.

States wanting federal stimulus money to improve chronically low-achieving schools have to compile a list of fve percent of their lowest-achieving schools. The list entitles Missouri to receive $50 million dollars in school improvement funds that will be split up in grants of $50,000 to $2 million per school.

State education department spokesman Jim Morris says this is more than a program that throws money at problems. “It’s generally not just bying a new computer. It’s a matterof changing the attitudes and the expectations and that means working with the people,” he says. In addition, “reaching out to the community and getting them to buy in to the process of making the kinds of changes that are needed” is another part of the picture. .

Morris says the program might require some tough love from local school boards that might have to replace administrators and facuilty to raise achievement to acceptable levels. “I think the mssage to school districts is going to be (that) they have to think about different kinds of itnerventions and things that are more likely to show clear results in a relatively short period of time,” he says.

 Bob Priddy interviews Jim Morris 10:17 mp3