To hear the full Show Me Today interview with Sen. Karla Eslinger, click below (21:25).

Missouri’s system that checks up on and accredits K-12 public schools is getting a review.

State Senator Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, is chairing the Senate Interim Committee on Education. It is holding a public hearing to study the Missouri School Improvement Program, known as MSIP.

Sen. Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola

“We have an opportunity right now in our state because our Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has decided it’s time to look to see whether or not the way in which we measure our district’s performance, whether or not it’s doing or telling the story or being as transparent and we’re being as accountable as we possibly can be,” said Eslinger. “What is this new way of accrediting districts? How is DESE deciding what is important to measure and what is the process of accreditation? Basically, what is going on because that is the one tool that we have in our state that is used to say, ‘This is where you need some help or this is where you guys are knocking the top off of it.”

She said there are three things the committee will focus on.

“Public opinion – we’ve got to be more transparent. If we have very successful programs, let’s learn from them. If we have programs that are struggling, let’s get in there and focus and see what it is and make sure that it is doing well and we shore up the deficiencies. The responsibility of our state money – that’s got to be there and then just the job that we all owe to our children – to have the best programs possible,” said Eslinger.

Today’s hearing will only include testimony from K-12 public education commissioner Margie Vandeven and possibly other education department leaders.

The committee’s work includes making recommendations to the Legislature next year.

Eslinger has spent her career in public education, as a teacher, school administrator, an assistant commissioner at Missouri’s Department of Education and she worked with the U.S. Department of Education.

The 10 a.m. hearing is being held at the Missouri Capitol. You can attend or listen to the livestream.

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