Why Education Reform

The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri believes that education reform is the key ingredient needed to ensure that Missouri’s children are ready to be successful in the 21st century.  The data is clear – Missouri’s students need real, systemic policy change.

Annual Performance Report (APR) and Missouri Assessment Program (MAP)

The release of Missouri’s Annual Performance Report and Missouri Assessment Program scores are intended to give the public a look at how our state’s public schools are performing. Take the following, for example:

  • Saint Louis Public Schools went from 18.86% of students on grade level in math in 2013 to 18.95% in 2014. The district had a similar limited progress in reading scores with only 1 in 3 students on grade level.
  • In Springfield Public Schools, the state’s largest district, 37.8% of low-income students are on grade level in reading, while 67.3% of non-low-income students are reading on grade level or above.
  • Columbia Public Schools has one of the state’s highest achievement gaps, with just 16.2% of African-American children on grade level in math while 59.1% of white children are performing on grade level. The achievement gap in reading is slightly higher.
  • In the Kansas City Missouri School District, 37.02% of children do not graduate. However, it’s not just the urban districts that are failing to graduate students on time; in the more affluent suburb of Independence, 20.95% of children drop out before graduation day. In rural Caruthersville, 24.62% dropped out.

Below is a map that shows school districts that are unaccredited, provisionally accredited or nearing a loss of their full accreditation. If you click on one of the markers you can see the district’s Annual Performance Report score issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other useful information.

View District APA’s in a full screen map

Missouri Achievement Gap

The achievement gap between African-American and white Students, low-income and non-low-income students, and Hispanic and white students in Missouri is alarming. Without real, systemic policy change, the achievement gap between each of these groups will likely continue to grow wider.


College and Career Readiness

More than half of Missouri’s students are going to struggle when they enroll in college math and science courses, according to a Report issued by ACT called “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014.” The study reports that just 45% of Missouri’s 2014 graduating high school seniors received the skills during their K-12 experience that prepared them for college math courses. The number is worse for science, where just 42% were found to be ready for what they will face in university science labs.

Overall, just 29% of Missouri students who took the test in 2014 were ready for college in all four subject areas tested on the ACT.

These numbers are relatively unchanged from 2013 and reflect a tradition of underperforming public schools. One might reasonably conclude that the reason the scores are unchanged is because the way education is delivered to Missouri students is unchanged.  If Missouri wants its students to graduate high school ready for a productive future, there must be sweeping reform of the state’s education system and parents must be allowed to choose the education that they determine is best for their child.

We Need Education Reform

Missouri’s students are struggling and the fastest, most efficient way to bring about real, sustainable progress is to create significant policy change that focuses on effective teaching, transparency and accountability, and school choice.

CEAM believes strongly that without these policy changes, Missouri’s public schools will continue to fall short of providing Missouri’s students with the high-quality education they deserve.  Please take a look at our policy pages below.


Accountability and Transparency

Educator Effectiveness

Quality Parental Choices