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 29% of students on grade level in math in 2011 to 27% in 2012. The district had a similar decline in reading scores. When only 1 in 3 students is on grade level, any backwards slide should sound an alarm.
  • In Springfield Public Schools, the state’s largest district, 33.4% of low-income students are on grade level in reading, while 69% of non-low-income students are reading on grade level on grade level.
  • Columbia Public Schools has one of the state’s highest achievement gaps, with just 36.8% of African-American children on grade level in math while 64.3% of white children are performing on grade level. The achievement gap in reading is actually slightly higher.
  • In the Kansas City Missouri School District, 40.8% 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, 15% of children drop out before graduation day. In rural Caruthersville, 26.1% 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 what the districts’ APR is 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 continue to grow wider.


College and Career Readiness

More than half of Missouri’s students are likely to struggle when they enroll in college math and science courses, according to the ACT’s “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012.” The study reports that just 46% of Missouri’s 2012 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 33% were found to be ready for what they will face in university science labs. Overall, just 27% of Missouri students who took the test in 2012 were ready for college in all four subject areas tested on the ACT.

Unfortunately, these numbers are relatively unchanged from 2011. The reason the scores are unchanged is because the way education is delivered to Missouri students is unchanged. Missouri can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. If Missouri wants its students to graduate high school ready for college, there must be some sweeping reform of the state’s education system.

This Is Why We Need Education Reform

The picture looks pretty bleak when you look deep into the numbers. 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 teacher quality, 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