A House Committee charged with looking for ways to improve the state’s education system has met to decide what it will, and won’t, discuss.
The Interim Committee on Education heard from Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro that much work must be done to meet the goal of having Missouri’s schools be in the top 10 in the nation by 2020.
“About seven percent of our total student population is represented by districts that are either provisional or unaccredited. Seven percent … 65,000 children all over the state; St. Louis, Kansas City, the Bootheel, northern Missouri. That’s a lot of children.”
Committee member Michael Butler (D), a representative of St. Louis City, says he hopes the conversation will venture into some areas that have not received recent attention.
“I really was hoping to come to Jeff City today to further our educational talk, and not rehash the same issues that we have since 2007.”
Chairman, former educator and Representative Steve Cookson (R-Poplar Bluff) says nothing can be off the table, with public hearings around the state coming up.
“We’re going out and listen to the people around the state on how to best move forward with good education policy from the legislature … that’s our mission.”
The Committee’s draft list includes discussion of teacher preparation and qualifications, school calendars, the transfer of students and common core standards. Members discussed adding topics including school safety, bullying, the relationship between schools, parents and the community, and providing access to quality education for students in unaccredited or provisionally accredited students.
Cookson hopes to have a schedule for the rest of the commitee’s hearing as soon as next week.