By voting to grant Provisional Accreditation status to the Riverview Gardens School District (RGSD) last week, the Missouri State Board of Education (SBOE) has taken away a critical education lifeline to families in that district.
The transfer option provided under Missouri Revised Statute 167.131 grants students in unaccredited school districts the right to transfer from their home district to a higher performing, neighboring district.
In making the decision, the SBOE turned a blind eye to RGSD’s low student academic performance results in favor of a rising Annual Performance Report (APR) percentage. The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM) has previously voiced concern over the Missouri APR formula.
The decision to reaccredit the Riverview Gardens School District stands in stark contrast to these 2016 state test results:
Math – 14% proficient or advanced
English Language Arts – 25% proficient or advanced
Science – 14.4% proficient or advanced
While the APR formula provides the option to use Status Points, Growth Points, or Progress Points to churn out an APR score, families are left with no options for the education of their children.
“Removing educational options from families in low performing school districts doesn’t help anyone. What we’ve witnessed through the implementation of the transfer law is a critical focus on the unaccredited districts that has helped spur change and attempts at improvement. Moving forward most families in Riverview Gardens will have no choice but to send their children to an underperforming school district. Now the SBOE is telling families that despite what we know about performance results, these schools are good enough for your children,” said CEAM Associate Executive Director Peter Franzen.
CEAM stands at-the-ready to help RGSD families navigate this process. No transfer law means no transportation for transfer students. Even though area school districts have agreed upon a plan to allow some existing transfer students to continue attending their transfer district for anywhere from one to four years, current transfer families without the ability to drive their children to school will be forced to return to RGSD.
Families are encouraged to contact their school district for more information. Families interested in becoming advocates for more educational options may contact CEAM Outreach Manager Cici Tompkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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