Reimagining Education

Unaccredited districts must change their policies

By Kate Casas, State Director

On Tuesday, September 17 the Missouri State Board of Education voted unanimously to classify the Normandy School District as unaccredited due to chronically low academic performance.

The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri applauds the State Board’s decision, but fears that without drastic policy changes, little will improve for the students in the District as a result of their classification status.

One doesn’t have to look far to see that our fears aren’t unfounded. For example, St. Louis Public Schools has been unaccredited since 2007 and still today, 7 out of 10 children aren’t reading on grade level, 2 out of 5 wont graduate in four years and the average ACT score is just over 16.

CEAM is hopeful that the State Board of Education and other advocates for children will help create a system that will allow children to thrive. We believe this includes: a transparent system for rating schools that will give parents a clear understanding of the school’s quality, more high quality school options, and a system for evaluating, hiring and retaining teachers based on student performance.

History has shown that just labeling a district unaccredited will not change student outcomes, so I am hopeful that we can do it differently this time.

The note above was published in the Letters to the Editor section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.

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